The Early Days of Wikipedia, Reconstructed

When Wikipedia launched in 2001, its handful of volunteers faced the daunting task of creating an open-source repository of the world's knowledge from scratch. Where did they start? Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, of course.

Joseph Reagle, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, recreated the 10,000-or-so contributions made to Wikipedia during its first six weeks of existence. According to his blog:

Popular topics seemingly include philosophy, geography, the Dewey Decimal System, Ernest Hemingway, the United States (and its Constitution), Isaac Asimov, the Japan Constitution, Metallica, statistics, and — my goodness, true to the Objectvist conspiracy theories — a huge collection of articles on Atlas Shrugged.

In fact, according to Ethan Zuckerman, a full 15% percent of the earliest Wikipedia articles dealt with Atlas Shrugged. And here's the first entry for Star Wars:

An epic story about the fight between the Rebels and the Empire to dominate the Galaxy.

The Internet was so quaint in 2001!