Histropedia v0.6 feature news

Priority Display, Embedded Timelines, Automatic timeline creation and more!
Histropedia beta v0.6 was released recently and sees the arrival of some fundamental features towards our end vision, including some really cool new ways to make timelines.



Keeping timelines organised by only showing you the most important event in any time period.

This is a major feature on the road to the timeline of everything. In order to allow the exploration of all of history, we need to create a suitable system of displaying large numbers of events without the timeline becoming overcrowded and unusable.
Priority Display is a major stepping stone towards this goal, the feature works be limiting the number of events visible at any one time. The idea is that as you zoom out to display larger amounts of time on the timeline the less important events will be hidden. As you zoom back in, so a smaller period of time is visible, the hidden events will re-appear.
The events are ranked by the number of links they have from other Wikipedia articles. So far we have seen that, although not always perfect, this ranking system generally gives a good approximation of the most important events on any timeline. In the future we will improve the system to allow you to choose the criteria that the events are ranked by. So for example a timeline about movies could be ranked by box office sales, or a timeline showing different wars and battles could be ranked by number of causalities and so on. We also hope to improve the general ranking to take into account the relevance the event has to the timeline it is on.


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There are 3 levels of event density to choose from as well as a “show all events” options. On the timeline line bar itself small markers show where there are hidden events. You can also star any event to keep it visible at all zoom levels.


Learn more about Priority Display & Event Density



Enhance your web page or blog post with an interactive timeline

Now you can embed any timeline onto your web page on blog post. We’ve redesigned the layout a little bit and disabled any editing option to make a read only version for the embedded view.


Pretty cool isn’t it? Learn more about how to embed a timeline here



Build one timeline out of many

This useful new feature lets you choose to merge a new timeline with the timeline you have loaded. This means you can combine smaller timelines to make new timelines. For example you could start with the battle of World War I, and then add novels by Ernest Hemmingway. Your new timeline can be saved to your account and shared with the world. Check out our timelines community for some timelines to try merging, and be sure to send us the link or post them to the community if you make any cool combo timelines.

Read more about merge and replace



We’ve made it even easier to make a timeline! Now you can create an instant timeline using any Wikipedia category

New in this release are 2 features that start to bring some amazing timeline creating power. The more basic of these is the ability to create a timeline from any Wikipedia category. The feature lets you input the desired Wikipedia category and choose the number of sub categories. Histrobot will then go searching in selected category and sub categories for articles that have a Histropedia event and add them straight to the timeline.
For example here this link will automatically create a timeline from the Wikipedia category “16th century books”

Timeline of the Wikipedia category 16th Century Books

A message will appear telling you how many articles were found and how many had matching events in Histropedia. As more events are added to Histropedia the number of events found will also increase.

Learn how to make a timeline using a Wikipedia Category.



We’ve also just created something very unique and quite exciting using the querying power of Wikidata.

The second method for creating automatic timelines is very much an advanced feature and if you’re not familiar with Wikidata or Wikidata queries you will probably want to read up on them first. However in short Wikidata is a Wikimedia project creating a massive database of machine readable facts to support Wikipedia, other Wikimedia projects and other third party applications (like Histropedia). The query tool “autolist” lets you query the database to produce a list of results (Wikipedia Articles).
Our latest feature lets you use a Wikidata query to automatically build a timeline. Like I said this is an advanced feature and exists in a very basic form, however it is incredibly powerful.
For example, when a Wikidata query that shows everything that is part of World War 1 is run on Histropedia you get a truly amazing timeline with over 230 events created in seconds. Check it out…

Timeline of everything that was “part of” World War I

Or you could run a query to show everything within a certain radius of any location, like this one that shows everything that happened within 2km of the Barbican Centre in London (where we recently presented Histropedia at the annual Wikimania conference)

Timeline of events within 2km of the Barbican Centre London

You can even run a query to show all the descendants of a famous person, for example Queen Victoria.

Timeline of Descendants of Queen Victoria

Because these timelines are created by running a live query on Wikidata, the number of results will increase as more items are added to Wikidata.
To use this tool you will need to understand how to create Wikidata queries using the Autolist tool which was created by Magnus Manske. You can find the tool here and instructions on how to create queries here
If you already know how to create Wikidata queries and would like to experiment with running queries on Histropedia you can jump straight to the kb article for this feature.

Learn how to create a timeline using a Wikidata query.



There have been made some major changes to the sharing system, making it easier to share timelines without being signed in to Histropedia.
The save options have been improved, allowing you to save changes to a timeline without creating a duplicate.
We’ve also fixed several bugs and made some minor improvements, however our main priority has been new features so the site is still a bit rough around the edges in some places. If you notice any bugs or have any ideas/features you’d like to see let us know in our new Feedback and ideas forum.

Sean McBirnie

Co-Founder at Histropedia

Latest posts by Sean McBirnie (see all)

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