Submissions/Transforming Wikipedia into the timeline of everything!

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2014.

Submission no. 6036
Title of the submission
Transforming Wikipedia into the timeline of everything!
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
  • Navino Evans
  • Sean McBirnie
E-mail address
Country of origin
United Kingdom
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
UPDATE (1st August):
The following two Wikidata related features have been completed since writing the original submission. As they will now be an important part of our demonstration of the site, we've included this update with a brief description below:
  • Data from Wikidata - We have now switched to using Wikidata as the primary source of event data. This has boosted the number of events in our database to over 1.5 million, eliminated errors importing dates, and provided a date suggestion system for editors.
  • Categories and Wikidata Query Tool – This allows you to create timelines automatically using any Wikipedia category or any Wikidata query!

We would like to demo Histropedia, a tool we're developing that lets you quickly visualise sets of events on a timeline, drawing data from Wikipedia and Wikidata.

Our ultimate goal is to create the world's first fully interactive timeline for all of history from the big bang to the present day. This grand idea is only possible thanks to the bold vision being realised by the Wikimedia foundation. By tapping into this amazing resource we are creating a new way for the world to enjoy the information Wikipedia has made available.

We have already built a system that allows any Wikipedia article to be displayed on a timeline. Over 1 million articles currently exist in our database and a simple editing system allows any missing article to be transformed into an event and added to the database.

The next stages of development, due for completion in the next 3-6 months, will involve using Wikidata as the primary source of data for each event. We will also be importing entire Wikipedia categories, turning them into ready-made timelines to populate the upcoming directory. Moving beyond that we will use the ever-increasing data being recorded by Wikidata to create interlinked sub events, filters for event type and location, and much more. As Wikidata grows so does the scope of Histropedia.

It is our hope that the visual nature of this project will enable Wikidatans to spot errors and missing data more easily and encourage more people to join the Wikidata community. The project may also create some improved data sets that could, in theory, be re-incorporated into Wikidata if the community decides this would be a valuable addition.

Every event and timeline in our database will be publicly editable and published under a creative commons license so they can easily and freely be shared with the world. Also the site will always be free to use and users only need login to make edits, so anyone can view the timelines created without an account.

Co-founder, Navino Evans who has some familiarity speaking in public from his prior experience as a teacher would lead the presentation, accompanied by fellow co-founder Sean McBirnie. Members of development team will also be available to answer any technical questions if required.

We are very excited at the possibility of presenting Histropedia at Wikimania 2014 as we believe many attendees will find this an interesting and exciting project.

Open Data
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)

More info about the project on our about page

As our presentation will be based around a demonstration of the site, we have included some examples of timelines that will be in the upcoming directory.

The controls for the site are very similar to Google Maps:

  • Scroll through time by clicking and dragging in any blank area of the screen.
  • Zoom in or out using the mouse wheel.
  • Double click on any event to view the Wikipedia article and other related content.

Wars involving Great Britain (120 events)

Novels by Charles Dickens (20 events)

Apollo missions (33 events)

Artists (119 events)

Special requests

Interested attendees

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