17 April 2014

Tiki-Toki a fun free timeline creation tool that can create a visual masterpiece of your families history!

Diane's Tiki-Toki Test Timeline with an image backdrop and event dialogue box
We often use timelines/matrices in our research.  They are a great way to envision the passage of time and who is doing what, where, when and with whom!

A Michigan State University blog post titled Tiki-Toki: Online Timeline Creation Tool introduced me to the free web-based timeline tool, Tiki-Toki. It is quite powerful; more so than my little example will illustrate.

To see how it worked I created a test timeline of a few data points.  My timeline is so primitive that I didn’t include any digital images (e.g. of documents) nor did I engage the 3D presentation elements and there is only so much one can do in about 20 minutes!  I did like that I could add multiple events on a single date and they would stack up.  I often will have a data point from my research and then observations I might make relative to that data point.  I don’t want them integrated since the observations are often of a “generic” nature and have relevance beyond the one data point.  In my next iteration, I will use what is called the category bands view and then I put my data points in one band and my notes in another.

Diane's Tiki-Toki Test Timeline without an image and just a colored background and event dialogue box
I thought maybe the first version with the image background was too clutter though I do find it easier to look at than this version -- maybe a change in color scheme is needed!??!!?

I found it pretty intuitive to use and it does help to view the timeline created giving a history of the tool, http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/43/Beautiful-web-based-timeline-software/#vars!date=2010-10-11_14:33:00!  which does highlight its various features.

Do know that to save as an image or PDF there are other “free” applications that you will have to download to perform these actions.

From my example, it’s clear that I will need to play around with this a bit more and if I were to add an appropriate backdrop, include snippets of the original documents acquired along with fully developed source citations and more, this could be a very neat (and visually interesting) way to share a timeline.

And, if I used the 3D elements, I could, for example, have a path of data for each of a bunch of like-named individuals.  This way I could see them in the context of time (and space) in context with one another.  

If you decide to play with Tiki Toki, please share a link to your efforts!

Do you have a favorite (and easy-to-use) timeline creation tool?

Editor’s Note: Other Upfront with NGS articles related to using timelines as a genealogical research tool.

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