Introduction

Rethinking Timelines developed out of work on event modelling for the TimeMap project from 1995 (see Johnson 1997 on TimeMap web site at http://sydney.edu.au/arts/timemap/) and the TimeMap project's work for the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (http://www.ecai.org)). This collaboration led to a pilot study between Ian Johnson (Archaeological Computing Laboratory, University of Sydney) and Ruth Mostern (University of California Merced, formerly collections manager of ECAI).

Initial funding was obtained from the Hewlett Foundation (development of timelines for undergraduate education) and the University of Sydney (Short-term visiting fellowship - Mostern, Jul/Aug 2006).

The outcomes of the pilot project will be described more fully on this web site. They include a review paper of existing approaches to historical event modeling and interactive timelines (published 2008 in a special issue of International Journal of GIS, edited by Michael Goodchild), a new methodology for historical event modeling, an interactive annotated bibliography of timeline applications in the Heurist eResearch database (http://heuristnetwork.org) and a pilot visualisation linking historical events recorded in Heurist with the TimeMap TMJava mapping application and a simple interactive timeline (Silk Road Historical Timeline Pilot).

An ARC Linkage Grant application was submitted in Nov 2006 and funding of $545,000 (ARC + Partner contributions) was obtained in 2007. The partners are Macquarie Library P/L and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

The ARC project seeks to develop the methodology of recording events and their relationships (Mostern, Robertson and Johnson), to visualise events through maps and timelines (ACL/Johnson), to develop online curriculum components (Mostern and Robertson) and to test their effectiveness in educational environments (COCO/Reimann).