Create timelines easily using Dipity
Dipity (http://www.dipity.com/) is a service that helps you create interactive, dynamic, multi-media, collaborative, and printable timelines. Dipity allows you to pull from the open web, social media sites, photo sites like flickr and Picasa, video sites, blogs, music services like last.fm and Pandora, and more—including any RSS feed and other Dipity timelines. Of course, you can also add events by simply entering the information (with the option to add your own photos, links, and more).

In creating the timeline, you can choose to make the timeline public, keep it private, or share it with specific people. You can also decide others’ level of involvement—from simple viewing to complete editing capability. Some timelines are public and editable by anyone, sort of a wiki-timeline. Before publishing, you can also decide whether to allow others to comment on events or on the timeline as a whole (or not), what date should be at the center and the level of zoom (ranging from 30 minutes to 5000 years!), and choose a theme.

After creating your timeline, you can share it on a number of social media sites, embed it on your webpage or blog, or print it as a PDF. The timeline is also viewable online as a flipbook, list, or map if you include geographic information with your events.

Dipity uses the now-ubiquitous “follower” model, meaning users can follow timelines or other users. Timelines can also be subscribed to using an RSS feed.

Searching for specific users or subject areas is extremely limited (Dipity is currently working to improve this), and though browsing is somewhat possible using the directory of profiles and topics (the link is at the bottom of the page), it is not particularly helpful. One workaround is to do a site search in Google (type site:dipity.com and then your search term into Google, add “-tickr -timetube -directory” to exclude results from the directory, tickr, a flickr timeline service, and timetube, a YouTube timelines service).

Here are some good examples of Dipity timelines:

“Katrina+5: Documenting Disaster” by the Historic New Orleans Collection

A history of the Apollo Program created by the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

Tracing the history of the band Nirvana by The Seattle Times


Author: Jessica Speer

As the Research Specialist at SSRC, Jessica edits re/search, consults with faculty, and conducts SSRC research projects. She is interested in questions of information management, preservation, communication, and dissemination.

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