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September 8, 2014 / carlispina

Make a Timeline with Histropedia

HistropediaWhile at Wikimania, I learned about an interesting new tool that takes advantage of Wikipedia content to make it easy to create timelines with ease. Currently in beta, Histropedia allows users to search for anything they want to add to their timeline in the included search bar. If it is in Wikipedia, it will pop up. Any entry that has a plus sign next to it can be added to the timeline with a single click. If an entry doesn’t have a plus sign, it just means that dates are not available for that entry. In that event, users can add their own date information, at which point the entry is available to be added to their timeline and any future Histropedia user’s timeline. I found that it took me only minutes to create a timeline of famous artists that was both professional looking and dynamic. Even if your selected entry can be added with one click, you can still opt to customize the information associated with it, including editing the dates and selecting from all of the images included in the Wikipedia article.

Once you are happy with your timeline, you can share it via a URL or embed it on another website. Viewers of your timeline will be able to click on individual entries to activate the pop-out reader, which includes the full Wikipedia entry as well as tabs that display Twitter content on the topic, as well as related books, films, music, and videos. While I like the integration of the Wikipedia entries, I did find myself wishing that users had the option to opt out of the other tabs in the reader since they may not be appropriate in all situations, particularly all educational settings. However, despite this limitation (which I hope may be addressed in future releases), I think Histropedia is a nice way of creating and sharing educational timelines on a wide range of topics. One other note: to facilitate the sharing side of this equation, all Histropedia timelines are a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 license, which is important to note, both if you want to use an existing timeline and as you create your own timelines using the platform. If you think this sounds like an interesting tool, check out the video below to see how it works.

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