Mar 242013

When presented with the possibility of looking back in time at the internet, I was immediately curious about my favorite encyclopedia, Wikipedia.  It’s been around for more than a decade now.  In high school it was derided by teachers as inaccurate, due to its crowd-edit nature.

“See here,” they’d say, “I’ve edited this page with false information and it hasn’t been corrected in six hours! You shouldn’t trust Wikipedia because you can’t verify the facts!”

They unintentionally refreshed the page, and the erronious fact had been corrected.  The teacher bluffed by changing the subject.

More importantly, Wikipedia has always been a resource for finding sources – as it requires everything be cited – most articles cited are online, and can be directly appraised themselves for validity in scholarly use.  Wikipedia is alive because of it’s innovative internet nature.  I respect it a great deal because it is an incredibly useful and trafficed site that refuses to have ads so long as it is funded by its users.  I must admit I haven’t donated to Wikipedia myself, but I intend to once my life is not in such a great state of flux, and I am sure of my disposable income.  It would be a great shame if such a giant was laid low by fiscal neglect.

Adverts are a great annoyance to me – they smoothly invade the mind and can lead to poor decision-making.  With the internet and social media, I think it is possible to move into a new age without advertisements, with instead webs of trusted reccomendations – a more sophisticated version of Facebook’s “like” system.  I despise the imposition of anonymous, corporate strangers on my decision-making.

Wikipedia started out as a pile of blue links:

 Screen shot 2013-03-24 at 11.04.10 PM

It is slightly regognizable.  Wikipedia is still populated by a great deal of blue links of that variety.  This most-earliest version of the PEDIA, lacks the trademark sentence/blurb preview structure so recognizable today. Though, in about two years, it begins to emerge:

Screen shot 2013-03-24 at 11.05.08 PM

Most exciting about this update is the presence of an unrecognized logo: this sentence-sphere is not the international alphabet-globe I have lovingly penned upon a shirt, but a quote from an unknown source.  Note the location above of the search bar in the top-right corner.  In the next transition, the site gains most of its familiar design (an example of how good things don’t go out of style) but the search bar moves to the left bar.

Screen shot 2013-03-24 at 11.06.31 PM

There are few changes over the next five years: the main change is the arrangement of links at the left, and most importantly the location of the search bar: due to the link reorganization, it moves downward, then back upward – eventually to the top.

Screen shot 2013-03-24 at 11.07.26 PMFinally Wikipedia becomes its present self with the search bar at the top right, about 2-3 years ago.

Regretfully, I didn’t record the exact archived dates of these pages, so this is a rather inexact timeline.  However, I was primarily interested in the design development that became the Wikipedia I know and trust.

 Posted by on March 24, 2013  Add comments

  2 Responses to “Wikipedia WayBack”

  1. I really like your wikipedia timeline.

  2. I love the story of your high school wikipedia correction- do you recall what the page was?

    In many ways, Wikipedia has not significantly changed in design- it is still link dominated (a good thing) with left side navigation. But what does its evolution say to you?

    Actually you can figure out the archived dates- it is part of the URL of each screenshot. Reading URLs is a key skill! The forst screen capture is from August 8, 2001. Got the pattern?

    Okay, a few petty things on the assignments. You need to include the title, description, and link to what assignment this is done for. If for any reason a reader has no idea why you are doing this. And that future reader may even be you ;-) Also, it needs to includes the tags that were part of the assignment page; that is how the assignment can link back here as an example. The tag helps build that connection.

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