Building Blocks of History

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Previewed in January 2005 at Rotterdam's Stedelijk Museum, and at a conference at the nearby Piet Zwart Insitute, the website designtimeline.org has completed and archived their open history project, comprising innovations, anecdotes and events relating to web design of the past decade. Ranging from sentimental to technical, questions posed by site visitors and their subsequent answers, catalogued by year, present a working history of the techniques and procedures that were created, forgotten and expanded between 1994 and 2004. When collected en masse, the subjective answers to basic questions like, "When did you first learn to make websites?", or "What was the first search engine you used?", can start to form a more objective outline for the past decade and the various paths that have led to the present state of online design and communication. It is a simple plan, but can be as dynamic as its participants. Also, the general template for the history program is now available for download on this site. One can imagine that the format could be copied in innumerable ways for any topic, large or small. So, as the designers implore on the designtimeline website, "Please--make history!" - David Senior