Jul 11, 2012

Digitized History and Interactive Timelines: Lots of examples and links for your exploring pleasure!

One of my tech-savvy daughters is a history buff. She decided to research our family's genealogy, and through this process, has uncovered a treasure trove of interesting things during her on-line research.  

Technology has made it possible for historians, archivists, genealogists, antiquers, and other to digitally curate and share items on-line.  One example is the work of the 2 million-plus members of Ancestry.Com, a website that provides a fairly easy way for novices to create their own family trees, search digitized records, and share their findings with cousins, near and distant, about the stories they've come across along the way. (Please excuse the formatting problems!)

My daughter discovered that one of my great-great grandfathers worked as a conductor and yardman for the railroads before he became a miner and prospector, who apparently died penniless, according to an article she found in the Chronicling America website. This website is part of the Library of Congress and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. (The picture of my great-greet grandfather was taken from an article in the Salt Lake Tribune)

Screen Shot:  Chronicling America

Knowing that my great-great grandfather worked for the railroad in Utah led to the discovery of related information on-line. Below are two screenshots from the interactive timeline of the history of the Union Pacific railroad.  This website provides an opportunity for people to share their stories about the railroad's history. The timeline provides multiple means of accessing content related to the the railroad and the role of the railroad in the history of the United States.

Screen Shot: 150 Years: The History of Union Pacific

By clicking on the timeline, the viewer can dig in deeper into each specific era or location by viewing pictures, watching video clips, and reading text, as shown above. The timeline can be downloaded for use on iPad's iBooks 2 or on any computer with iTunes.


After my daughter commented that many of our relatives died at a very old age, without the benefits of the life-extending know-how of modern medicine, I wondered what old age might have been like for my elders. This led me to the Elder Web site, which provides an interactive timeline of the history of elder care.  The timeline links to a wealth of pictures and tidbits of information. Links include information obtained from the Library of Congress American Memory Collection

For those of you interested in timelines that focus on more recent events and history including the history of the arts, the following examples are fun to explore:

Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music (swf), v2.5 (I'm waiting for 3.0)
Note: Ishkur uses colorful, strong language to express his viewpoints and opinions about musical trends.
History of Modern Music: All Genres (Guardian UK)
Interactive Modern Art Timeline
CNN's Interactive Map and Timeline of Iraq and Afghanistan Casualties "Home and Away"
New York Times:  10 Weeks of Financial Turmoil (the credit crisis of 2008)
New York Times: The History of Overhauling Healthcare
New York Times: European Debt Crisis
New York Times: Major Events in the Afghanistan War
Screen Shot: Hard Rock Cafe Interactive Memorabilia

Digital Heritage
The American Memory Project
The Ninteenth Century in Print:  The Making of America in Books and Periodicals
Chronicling America
I take up my pen:  Letters from the Civil War
Digital NC: North Carolina's Digital Heritage
Digging Into Data Challenge and List of Online Data Repositories for Humanities and Social Sciences (Includes lots of links!)
U.S. Yearbooks (searchable via Ancestry.com)
What Was There: Digital versions of historical photographs of places are compared with locations on Google Maps, with the goal of creating a means to explore history through photography.
ImageFlow: Streaming Image Search (Microsoft)
Interactive Timelines using Timemap.js
Digital Storytelling Platforms and Multiple Perspectives:  A look at the work of Jonathan Harris (Food for Thought for Interactive Timeline Design)
List of Digital Preservation Initiatives (Wikipedia)

DIY Timelines (more to come)
The Best Tools for Making Online Timelines (Larry Ferlazzo)

One unfinished project on my "Tech Bucket List" is a multidimensional, multidisciplinary. multimedia interactive timeline.  Although the concept is far-reaching, it would be a useful tool for students, historians, genealogists, and more.

Please excuse the formatting problems!

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