Timeline: Notes


Drupal is an open-source content management platform and a great choice for creating integrated digital frameworks such as digital timelines and geospatial visualizations. TimelineJS is an open-source tool that enables anyone to build visually rich, interactive timelines.

Characteristics of a Scholarly Timeline

  1. Images and other media come from identifiable, authoritative sources
  2. Complete citations are provided for each item and text – as appropriate
  3. Use of the media is permissible (eg. not restricted by copyright or license) 

General Tips

  1. Create a clear narrative. The most effective timelines are those that provide a well-constructed narrative. Though presented in a visual form, timelines are much like any research paper or story; they work best when they have a good organizational structure and the order of the argument makes sense.
  2. Incorporate a range of media. Images are only one way to ground your text. Charts, maps, primary documents, links to other sources, and video can give your project a more robust feel and provide your reader with further avenues to explore on the topic.
  3. Reference external content. Timelines let you present a broad range of information. If there are authoritative sources (eg. Websites, journal articles) that cover the subject, consider linking directly to them.

Tips & tricks

  1. Keep it brief. We recommend not having more than 20 slides for a reader to click through.
  2. Pick stories that have a strongly chronological narrative. It does not work well for stories that need to jump around in the timeline.
  3. Write each timeline slide as a part of a larger narrative.
  4. Include events that build up to major occurrences — not just the major events.