Census site to get "soft" relaunch

The Public Record Office's troubled 1901 census Web site is still unavailable, and Government officials have confirmed that it...

The Public Record Office's troubled 1901 census Web site is still unavailable, and Government officials have confirmed that it will receive a "soft launch" when it eventually goes online for a second time.

Speaking last week, a Public Record Office spokeswoman said, "We will go for a very soft launch." The Public Record Office does not want a repeat disappointment for users, she explained.

The site, which features the details of 32 million people who lived in England and Wales in 1901, buckled under massive demand from users when it was launched earlier this year. It was designed to cope with up to 1.2 million hits a day, but it received more than one million hits an hour when it went live.

Public Record Office officials were unable to provide a specific date for the site's relaunch but confirmed that the site's creator QinetiQ is currently working to get the site up and running again. The spokeswoman said, "QinetiQ is working on the site at the moment."

She added, "Our priority is to get the site working again. Once we know that the site is working we will definitely be promoting it."

The highly publicised problems with the 1901 census Web site have prompted criticism from MPs. An early day motion proposed by Edward Davey, Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston and Surbiton, recently called on the Government to check that the project's budget was realistic.

james.rogers@rbi.co.uk

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