Histropedia: Timeline Creation Through Wikipedia


Ever wished you could create quick, simple timelines but don’t want to spend a lot of time with data entry? Perhaps you’ve wanted to compare timelines that you know don’t have correlated data, such as  but you want to map them over one another anyway? Maybe you want to see if World War II battles line up with blockbuster Hollywood movie releases. Histropedia helps you do all of this and more!

Histropedia allows not only access to timelines that others have created, but gives you the tools to create your own. It relies on data from Wikipedia.

Creating these timelines of course works best with Wikipedia articles that have a date included. You simply type your topic into the search bar, and a Wikipedia link appears. If a related timeline already exists, that appears at the top of the list as well, with a little paper icon.


Clicking the Wiki link you want on the plus sign adds the event to your new timeline.


You can use the zoom to zoom into a particular part of the data. One cool feature is that you can search for a timeline that’s already been created, and then merge it with your own. In this example, we saw that a timeline called “Harry Potter Characters” already existed. Clicking on it brings up the merge prompt.


If you want to add all of the new events to your existing timeline, simply click merge. If you’d like to start a new timeline with the “Harry Potter Characters” timeline, clicking replace will replace yours with the new one.

Using the same search and add feature as before, I’m going to add the last 6 books to this timeline. At some point you may find an event that doesn’t exist. In this case, it’s the release date for Prisoner of Azkaban, which is listed without a date. If you click it, it prompts you to create a new event if desired.


Using the Wikidata information, you can enter the information and decide whether or not your event has happened only once, or is a continued event.

Now we can look at certain parts of our timeline and use them to make inferences about other events. For instance, in the case of Harry Potter, if we pretend the books are nonfiction, we can establish how old Harry is when the books came out.philo


Zooming in on the Philosopher’s stone and comparing that to Harry’s birthday in 1980, we can infer that he was 17 when a story came out about something that happened with he was 11. No wonder he’s so well known in the wizarding world!




pluginHistropedia has a lot of other tools that delve much deeper than just the basics explained here. If you look at the sidebar when searching, you’ll notice that there are plugins to searches through Twitter, Amazon books, and many more.







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