The British Library has started an initiative to create a "21st century Domesday Book" - a snapshot of the UK seen through emails. The world-famous library is asking everyone in the UK to forward an email from their inbox or sent mail box representing their life or interests.

If oddballs and kids and oddball kids can hack into the Pentagon, it's not beyond the realms of imagination that ruthless and sophisticated criminal gangs will be able to access this information from the dusty librarians keeping guard of an amazingly rich source of live email addresses. Viagra factories will be setting up night shifts.

What other Fort Knox guardian of security is involved in the project? Microsoft. Oh. Dear.

You can find out more about the ruinous project at One thing that did make me gasp was the British Library's own web address: Is this the shortest URL available?

For those not born in the UK or badly educated there, the Domesday Book was a record of the great survey of England completed in 1086 for King William the Conqueror – a French bloke who invaded England in 1066. (William later died when the pommel of his saddle penetrated his groin when he fell off a horse at the Siege of Mantes. Monks rushed to bury him too fast, and used a coffin that was too small for him. It later exploded as his body swelled up, causing a sticky mess.)

You can check out the online version of the Domesday Book at the The National Archives.

John Tuck, British collections head at the library, said: "E-mail Britain will allow us to archive a vast snapshot of our present-day email communications and will be of great value for future researchers.

"Digital archiving of email has never been attempted before on this scale and we're very excited to be capturing such a rich slice of contemporary life."

Of course, historians and schoolkids of the 26th Century will think that we all talked about last night's football, plans to meet at the pub after 7pm Tuesday, and circulated incredibly unfunny jokes to all and sundry.

An equally unrepresentative picture of our culture today would be had by archiving teenage YouTube videos and MySpace pages.

Any ideas for a better system for capturing the moment?