The word ‘legacy’ arises frequently in Olympic Games research, but what is meant by it? The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has expressed its hopes of what the legacy of the London Olympics of 2012 will be:
- to make Great Britain a great sporting nation
- to inspire
- to show off London’s multicultural heritage
- to regenerate parts of the East of London
- to make the Olympic Park a sustainable space.
In these pages, we look at the concept of legacy from a variety of perspectives, but particularly from those of the libraries and archives who will be focussing on an aspect of legacy which has frequently been overlooked: that of providing a publications and documents legacy of the Games for the researchers of the future. We hope to showcase here the work being done by the British Library and other organisations to capture the experience of London 2012, right from the planning process through to the event itself, and its aftermath. In doing so, we raise questions about what exactly we should be acquiring, and examine the difficulties - practical and technological - of collecting these materials.
For the British Library, the legacy of 2012 is something very specific. As the national archive of published materials, we are collecting not only for current researchers but also for the researchers of the future.
In the digital age, you may legitimately ask what constitutes a publication, and how different forms of publication fit within the legal deposit legislation. Our Legal Deposit & Digital Acquisitions Co-ordinator, Andy Davis writes about how the Library is tackling the issue of deposit of digital materials.
Cathy Smith of The National Archives describes its plans for the 2012 Olympics, Paralympics and Cultural Olympiad. In partnership with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, The National Archives is helping the many contributing organisations to work together to build a comprehensive legacy of accessible, searchable information. The project to secure this legacy is known as ‘The Record’.
The Olympic Games are principally a showcase for elite sport. Nevertheless, the Government hopes that the British people will be inspired by the performance of the athletes to take up some form of fitness activity themselves. How realistic is this hope? We look at past efforts to stimulate grass-roots physical activity in the light of the British Library collections.
'The water of London is a political substance'. Six PhD candidates in the geography department at Royal Holloway, University of London, have chosen the medium of film to provide a platform for a range of people to voice their opinions regarding the changes to the Olympic waterscape and the legacy it will leave behind.