Evolution of a Wikipedia Page

By Deane Barker on February 11, 2005

Heavy metal umlaut: the movie: This is an awesome, awesome screencast from Jon Udell about the evolution of the a single page on Wikipedia.

Jon scrolls through several years of this page, noting how it grows from one sentence to over a thousand words, and examining various editorial themes and methods of presenting the information, and how they evolve over time. In the middle of the page’s life, it gets vandalized, and Jon shows how the vandal and an anonymous Wikipedian fought over the content of the page for several minutes.

It’s a wonderfully silly topic, but my point is somewhat serious too. The 8.5-minute screencast turns the change history of this Wiki page into a movie, scrolls forward and backward along the timeline of the document, and follows the development of several motifs. Creating this animated narration of a document’s evolution was technically challenging, but I think it suggests interesting possibilities.

Yes, it’s long, but worth every second.