That was the year: look back in time with Shooglebox

We've created boxes of cards for every year since 1950 to demonstrate how Shooglebox can be such a fun and inspiring way to collect and explore lots of web links and other material.

Pick a year and you’ll find a box that gives a snapshot of some of the things people in Britain were doing, listening to, watching and talking about at the time.

1969 box of cards on Shooglebox

The boxes are designed to give you a bit of inspiration for how you might use Shooglebox as a curation or web collection tool yourself. And they’re fun to explore in their own right – you’re guaranteed to disappear down a few rabbit holes as you discover things you didn’t know or had forgotten.

Some years are more eventful than others: 1969, for example, was the year of the Moon Landing, inspiring among other things David Bowie’s Space Oddity, the BBC children’s TV series Clangers, and the bouncy Space Hopper. It also marked the arrival of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the Beatles’ final concert on the roof of the Apple building in London. The 1969 box includes YouTube videos, weblinks, audio clips and more that create a kind of multimedia moodboard of the year.

The back of a card in the 1969 box on Shooglebox

Shooglebox is a great way to bring a subject to life. The visual format makes it easy to absorb lots of information at once and pick out what grabs your attention.

When you save links in Shooglebox a card is created automatically – and you can make the fronts nice and visual by editing the image or text that’s brought in by default.

Click on a card to turn it over and see the embed linking to the source material on the back. You can add your own text, images and links on the back too – the ability to add and format your own information and multimedia content alongside the things you save from the web is one of the things that makes Shooglebox different from other save-for-later, bookmarking and web curation apps.

The back of a card in the 1969 box on Shooglebox

It’s really quick and easy to pull together an eclectic collection of material with Shooglebox, whether you’re doing specific research or just squirrelling away the things you spot in your newsfeeds every day. What works really well is the combination of the Shooglebox app for Apple or Android devices to save things as you spot them – then switching to a bigger desktop browser to explore the things you’ve collected and edit your cards. You can see how that works in this video by Kev from the Shooglebox team.

Have a browse through the Year Boxes and see what catches your eye. Just a few examples:

If you start in the 50s you can see the birth of rock & roll in 1954 and the opening of the first Wimpy Bar, selling burgers and milkshakes to British teenagers.

The 1954 box on Shooglebox

The 60s bring Beatlemania, with She Loves You the biggest-selling single of 1963, a year when everyone over a certain age can answer the question “Where were you when JFK was assassinated?” The day after Kennedy’s assassination the BBC broadcast the very first episode of Doctor Who, delayed by a news update from Dallas.

1963 box on Shooglebox

The 70s begin with glam rock, colour TV and scary public information films, and in 1977 we had the year of punk rock, Star Wars and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

1977 box on Shooglebox

The 80s start with Pac-Man, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the Sony Walkman and end in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the launch of the Nintendo Gameboy and Tim Berners-Lee writing the first proposal for the World Wide Web.

1989 box on Shooglebox

In 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison, Pavarotti sang Nessun Dorma as England lost to Germany on penalties in the World Cup in Italy, and Margaret Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister.

1990 box on Shooglebox

The early 2000s brought millenium celebrations, the iPod, Ricky Gervais in The Office; and by 2010 Steve Jobs had unveiled the iPad, Instagram was launched, new video games included Red Dead Redemption, and 19-year-old Ed Sheeran played at someone's private party.

2010 box on Shooglebox

Each of the boxes includes some of the new words that entered the dictionary that year. It's no surprise that the first card in the 2020 box marks the first recorded use of the word ... COVID-19.

Take a look back through the years from 1950 to 2021 to see some of the things people in the UK were doing, watching and talking about.