Video of evolution in time of the Wikipedia page about London bombings

History unfolding from phauly on Vimeo.

7 July 2005
08.50 London is struck by three bombs.
09.18 (just 28 minutes later) on Wikipedia, the user Morwen creates the page “7 July 2005 London bombings”.
10.38 76 different Wikipedians made 250 edits to this page already, trying to make sense of reality in realtime …
By the end of the day the Wikipedia page “7 July 2005 London bombings” have been edited 2581 times!

The video “History unfolding” shows the evolution in time of the Wikipedia page “7 July 2005 London bombings”. Technically, I extracted from the API all the revisions of the Wikipedia page and I got a screenshot of each of them using Firefox with Page Saver extension running on an X virtual framebuffer (I tried khtml2png but I was unable to install it). Then I put together all the screenshots with mencoder and added the audio.
Wikipedia pages are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The soundtrack I added is Unfinished History by Johaness Gilther, released on Jamendo as Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs. So my video is released under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Enjoy!

The video is just one example of history unfolding under your eyes as it develops, of how people create their collective memories in real time.
We can now investigate how we, as a society, create our world, our perceptions of the past.
Now we can research past, present and future! And control it together!

“Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past.”
Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

3 thoughts on “Video of evolution in time of the Wikipedia page about London bombings

  1. Waldir

    I see no mention of the “Wikipedia Timelapse” video (original, better quality) first uploaded to Youtube on March 2006. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it :) Anyway, it was about time someone made a higher resolution version. Thanks!

  2. paolo Post author

    I haven’t heard of if before! Is it you the one who created the video?
    Incredible we both choose the same Wikipedia page for it!!!

  3. Waldir

    It wasn’t me, though I’m flattered you’d think so :) I heard of it some years ago and actually thought many wikimedians knew it. Maybe it should be more well-known.

    It is better in some aspects, especially regarding the images that in your video appear as red links. Also I like the song they chose best (but this is subjective). By the way, the sound in your video ends quite abruptly. In the other video, it ends more smoothly, although a bit too soon (the video keeps going for a some extra seconds).

    As for the coincidence, I thought so too, that’s why I assumed it had inspired you and perhaps you forgot to mention it; but if you think about it, this was one of the first big events that made people realize how good was Wikipedia in covering recent events; it did make quite an impression, so it’s not too surprising that people would think of it to demonstrate Wikipedia’s collaborative power :)

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