Talking Tech Friday-Xtimeline

Following Dan’s suggestion, today I’m reviewing Xtimeline.

What is it?

Xtimeline is a multi-media timeline generator.  You can link events along a timeline using pictures, audio, video, websites, etc., as well as provide detailed content for each event.

How does it work?

As usual, you sign up with a user name and password.  Xtimeline limits use to those 13 years and older – like MySpace or other social sites, there is the possibility of stumbling across more mature content.

Creating a timeline is easy.  To start, you fill out a form specifying the name of your timeline, and some details such as tags, category, and a description.  Here you can set permissions for your timeline as well: who can edit, who can view the timeline (you can specify a list of people, or make it completely open), and who can discuss.

Once you set up the description of your timeline, you start adding events. You can add a quick event in an abbreviated form, upload events from a spreadsheet or RSS feed, or fill out a detailed event form which is much like composing a blog post using a WYSIWYG interface. Here is where you can add media, either by uploading from your computer or embedding it from another website.  Once you enter the information, you can choose “Save and add next” or just “Save,” which I think is a nice design feature.

For my experiment, I created a timeline for MCLC Tech Talk, but just used this blog’s rss feed to generate events. Unfortunately, it only pulls up the 10 most recent entries, so you can’t pull the entire history of this blog from the feed.  I think it would be fun, however, to really create a timeline of  TechTalk from inception to full-fledged MCLC subcommittee!  If I’m on the ball, I’ll try to do this by our next meeting.

Here are a view other tips about the timelines, as well as some examples.

Use the slider at the bottom to scroll through the timeline, or view it by event for a detailed description.

Timelines can be embedded in blogs or websites (though not in WordPress, of course).  Visitors can comment and discuss timelines. You can email a link to friends, or post to a variety of bookmarking sites, such as del.icio.us.

Possible Library Uses

I think this could be a great tool for library exhibits, book talks (such as the Harry Potter example above), school projects – there are really a lot of possible uses.  Being able to embed the timeline in a library website further adds to its usefulness – your users will know it’s part of the library rather than having to go to another site to view it.

As mentioned in the School Library Journal review below, however, librarians should remember that users browsing the site may come across mature content.  Indeed, in the comments for the History of the Internet, there are some clear trolls who could use some internet etiquette lessons – or a bar of soap.

Reviews:

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~ by Anali on July 11, 2008.

3 Responses to “Talking Tech Friday-Xtimeline”

  1. Anali,
    Suggestions for Tech Talk Friday. Friendfeed is growing more popular with librarians lately. Also look at http://www.allmyfaves.com/ and http://www.evernote.com

    Cathy

  2. Thanks Cathy! I actually had Friendfeed on my list, but I definitely appreciate the suggestions!

  3. You might want to take a look at Dipity as well, doing some cool stuff in lifestreaming / timelines. I’m one of the founders, let me know if you need more info.

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