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February 17, 2007

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» In Defense of Timelines from ClioWeb
Paula has a nice critical write-up on the unbearable uselessness of timelines, particularly those used in history textbooks. Ive been working a bit on timeline applications, so Paulas post made me think seriously about the r... [Read More]

Comments

pozyczka chwilowka

Really enjoyed this post, is there any way I can receive an alert email when there is a new update?

Jennifer M.

As a librarian who organizes information and a social historian who likes to understand information within context, I disagree that timelines are useless. A timeline, used as a backdrop for key events, helps 'visualize' an issue within a larger context.

Mike Cosgrave


We've used chronologies as a student exercise in survey courses, but in setting it I take time in class to look at some chronologies from books and the web and explain to the students that a simple list of dates will not get a good grade. We usually set comparative chronologies, for example the reigns of Frederick and of Maria Theresa and Catherine the Great, and expect students to present the material in some way that shows comparisons between the three. In other words, the chronology does include a question, and it requires students to think about which 'battles and dates' to include based on their significance with respect to the question at hand.

I have some samples of the student work in my office 'someplace' but I don't think I have yet scanned them for my teaching portfolio

kellyinkansas

Interesting food for thought, Paula. The next edition of Berkin's Making America is going to have the US events juxtaposed with world events to help provide a global context. But you have me thinking about we could do with it online.

manan ahmed

Totally Agree. I hate the teleology asserted in a timeline. 'This' may have come before 'that'. But is 'this' really all we need to note for 'that'? or vice versa?

"moving these things to Web on average frees up 30 pages of texbook space"

I would imagine that the web allows us better ways to construct an "eventline" - something along the lines of kinship charts that anthropologists use; except in our version, not all events are related to each other, directly.

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