Above: Boutique book publisher and geek James Bridle has printed the 12,000 edits made to the controversial Wikipedia entry for Iraq War between December 2004 to November 2009 as a 7,000 page, 12 volume set of books.

“This is historiography. This is what culture actually looks like: a process of argument, of dissenting and accreting opinion, of gradual and not always correct codification.

“And for the first time in history, we’re building a system that, perhaps only for a brief time but certainly for the moment, is capable of recording every single one of those infinitely valuable pieces of information. Everything should have a history button. We need to talk about historiography, to surface this process, to challenge absolutist narratives of the past, and thus, those of the present and our future.” -James Bridle

Bridle spoke about the project in his talk “The Value of Ruins” at the dConstruct conference last week in Brighton, England. Audio of his talk is posted below.

Of the printed collection, Bridle says: “It contains arguments over numbers, differences of opinion on relevance and political standpoints, and frequent moments when someone erases the whole thing and just writes ‘Saddam Hussein was a dickhead’.”

Of Wikipedia, Bridle says: “It’s not only a resource for collating all human knowledge, but a framework for understanding how that knowledge came to be and to be understood; what was allowed to stand and what was not; what we agree on, and what we cannot.”

I think that’s pretty awesome.

Below: Bridle’s talk at dConstruct, The Value of Ruins. Audio thanks to the wonderful podcast curation tool HuffDuffer. (Which, incidentally, was built by Jeremy Keith, author of HTML5 for Web Designers, who recently shook hands with James Bridle himself.)