Wikipedia, July 27, 2001
The simplicity of Wikipedia circa 2001 is striking. But what made Wikipedia groundbreaking then and now is that “You can edit this page right now! It’s a free, community project.” The love child of the “wiki” (open editing software) and the encyclopedia, Wikipedia was one of the first sites to encourage democratic use of the web. Four million articles later, you can look up or add information to anything—and we mean anything—from George Washington to the History of Cheese. And while there is plenty of room for error, volunteers like Sarah Stierch, the Smithsonian’s Archives’ new Wikipedian-in-Residence, police the databases and edit the articles for accuracy. Put this screen shot circa 2000 up against the site’s homepage today and you’ll find that it’s stayed true to its simple navigation system.