HistoryofScience.com Blog

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Interactive Timeline, "From Cave Paintings to the Internet," is now Live

I am very pleased to announce that the interactive database version of my timeline on the history of information is now online. Since publication in 2005 of my book, From Gutenberg to the Internet, this timeline has been a work in progress, and as it has grown so has its scope. Reflecting the greatly increased scope of the timeline, I decided to rename it From Cave Paintings to the Internet.

Recently, with the help of web designer Jessica Gore, I was able to convert the timeline into an expanded interactive database with several new features. There are currently more than 1550 annotated timeline entries, nearly all of which have one or more hyperlinks to online references. There are also 64 themes by which the timeline can be searched. Individual timeline entries are indexed by up to six themes. You will find links to each theme at the end of each timeline entry. If you click on a theme after an entry you will see a timeline based on that theme alone. Of course you can also access the timeline by different eras, and you can switch back and forth between eras and themes.

Here are the themes by which the time is currently indexed:

Archaeology, Art & Book Collecting, Art History, Artificial Intelligence,

Bibliography, Book History, Book Trade, Business Machines,

Cartography, Censorship, Communication, Communication / Information Theory,

Computer & Calculator Industry, Computer Culture, Computer Design, Computer Games / Simulations,

Computer Graphics /Music, Computers & Society, Computers & the Human Brain,

Computing & Data Processing,

Computing & Medicine / Molecular Biology, Computing Theory, Copyright/ Patents / Law,


Data Storage / Memory, Destruction of Information, eCommerce, Economics,

Education, Electronic Media, Forgeries / Frauds, Freedom, Privacy & Security,

Human-Computer Interaction, Imaging / Photography/ Cinematography,

Indexing & Searching Information, Internet & Networking,

Libraries & Archives, Linguistics /Computational Linguistics, Manuscript Illumination,

Manuscripts & Manuscript Copying,

Mathematics, Museums, News Media, Organization of Information,

Paper, Political/ Social /Military Events, Prehistory,

Preservation & Conservation of Information,

Printing, Publishing, Radio, Robotics, Science & Medicine,

Social Networks / Wikis, Software, Sound / Video Recording,

Statistics, Survival of Information, Technology, Telecommunications,

Telegraph, Television, Virtual Reality, Writing

Users should recognize that in order to trace the origins of concepts or technologies back in time I have sometimes defined themes loosely. In order to make some themes more accessible to historical treatment I have also combined related themes. For example, I combined Internet and Networking in order to trace this concept back to the first road networks in the ancient world, to railroads, to the telegraph lines that followed railroad lines, to telephone networks, up the network of networks that is the Internet.

Though this is, of course, my individual project, I could not accomplish it without hundreds of reference volumes on the history of information in my personal library and the work of countless contributors to websites on the Internet. To the thousands of contributors to the Wikipedia I am especially grateful. Throughout the timeline users will find innumerable hyperlinks to the Wikipedia on the widest variety of topics. Please note that quotations within a timeline annotation, when not referenced to a printed publication, nearly always refer to a website referenced by a hyperlink.

Coming attractions will include images in many entries.

It is my pleasure to create and share this growing interactive record of my ongoing voyage through the history of information. I look forward to your comments.

posted by Jeremy Norman @ 8:30 AM   4 Comments


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