\\ netzspannung.org\ Knowledge Discovery\ Timeline


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The Timeline is a dynamic interface content in netzspannung.org's database. It acts as a kind of browser. It consists of several tracks, which are horizontally arranged one above the other. Each track comprises a category of database entries, which are represented in temporal sequence beside each other. Thus the Timeline interface orders the content parallel in different categories in a time line, allowing temporal relations to be discovered between different content fields. This synchronous-optical presentation enables things to be seen in a new light and to interconnect them. It is a form of visualization that creates new semantic connections, thus bringing about a different understanding.

The following description refers to the new version of Timeline, which will go online with the second phase of the relaunch of netzspannung.org in September. It is based on a prototype that was developed with Shockwave for the launch of the 2001 platform. The new version is realised using Java.

Version 1 (2001) shows the database entries of the cast01 conference.
Start Shockwave required

Version 2 (2004) with projects about various topics of Media Art Research.
Start Java 1.4 required

Levels of information

Unlike conventional timelines in print format, which have to present all the information in parallel, the digital interface allows both different information levels to be defined and more information to be provided from level to level. Thus, to begin with, the Timeline interface shows a database entry only as an icon consisting of a title and cropped image. Rolling over the icon calls up the subtitle and author. If the icon is clicked, further information appears. By virtue of the connection to the database and the structuring of the information, the Timeline interface allows very large volumes of data to be visualized.

Focusing time

Each track shows the database entries of a category temporally arranged according to the moment in time when the event or project described originated. Moving the slide control on the time bar back and forth has the effect of going backwards and forwards in time, i.e. an earlier or later period of time is displayed in the interface. If the time window of the slide control is enlarged, the time period displayed in the interface also becomes bigger, and the database entries move visually closer together. Making the time window smaller has the opposite effect, namely that the time period displayed is shorter and hence can be more precisely focused.

Selecting content

However, the database entries displayed in the interface can be selected not just in terms of the time period but also from the point of view of content. The search function enables a targeted selection with regard to the concept entered, while restricting the selection of the keywords allows all the database entries for the selected keywords to be displayed. Restricting the content via the search function or keywords causes unwanted parts of the database entries to fade into the background, and hence creates a specific timeline for the selected terms. Seen in this way, the Timeline interface comprises an infinite number of thematic timelines.

Technical information

You will need to have Java 1.4 or higher to use the Timeline. If you do not have Java installed, or if you are not sure, go to » http://www.java.com and click on "Get it now". This will download and install the latest version of Java (or it will tell you that you already have it installed). Once the Java installation is finished, click on the link above to install the Timeline.
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