Think of timelines as historical markers on a scale with dates. But though timelines may be just a plot of dates and events on a long bar, they have a cultural significance; maybe not the timeline itself, but certainly the events that are placed on it. Historical events timelines help us to understand change as it happens over the course of time. This bird’s eye view enables us to grasp the complexity of a trend over the course of history. All it takes is a glance at a timeline.
But it’s not only history. It can be used to plot a fictional course of events too. Just take a look at the Lord of The Rings timelines which prove that these graphic tools can hack away at complexity. Or, if you are an Android user check out this cool video timeline.
Along with infographics, I think timelines are great educational aids. So, let’s take a look at a few cool timelines and understand events as they unfolded.
The continuing scientific project covers 3000 years of world history with the help of interactive timelines, lifelines, and maps. A menu panel on the left enables you to navigate through people, history, events, and maps. The timeline is synchronoptic – it displays the interconnectedness between historical events and gives you a perspective on the events that shaped the world. The graphics may not be rich by current Web 2.0 standards, but the information certainly is.
This really cool timeline takes a darker look at world events: a look at war and conflicts around the world from the past to this day. The timeline is in beta, but it shows the potential of a Google Maps mashup to teach us about history. You can use the slider below or search for a conflict from the search bar. The relevant ones for that period get loaded in the grey box. Text information is sourced from Wikipedia.
We go from war to art with the help of Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. It is definitely a well compiled look at the development of art forms by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can browse the timeline by period or by geographical region. From the pre-historic to the present, the timeline is a great educational aid if you are interested in exploration of the history of art from around the world. There are 300 timelines in total, supported by works of art from the Museum’s collection, a chart of time periods, a historical overview, a list of key events, and other content.
One of the world’s best magazines has a rich collection of timelines all in photo slideshows. Thanks to the photographs by some of the world’s top photographers, you get a close look at history through the photo stories. Pictures do speak a thousand words. 810 pages worth of timelines on diverse topics should keep you busy till the next year. Tell us about your pick.
Google News Timeline
News becomes history one day. Google captures it all in its news timeline, a Google Labs project. The controls on the top enable you to sift through all the major happenings. The default view is on the current date. You can use the slider to go back and forth. News relates to scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and information about various types of media, like music albums and movies. But aptly, the timeline allows you to put in your own queries and view the results chronologically on the timeline. You can specify as many different queries as you’d like. Wikipedia and Time Magazine are there by default. The screen shows the result of a query on the tsunami disaster in Japan.
There are quite a few historical events timelines out there. All of them let us go back in time and take another look at history . Which ones are your favorites? Let us know if you like the concept of timelines.
Image Credit: Shutterstock