Timeline Tool: A Brief History of UMW

I never would have believed using a Google spreadsheet and a simple¬†website¬†could produce such a visually appealing, interactive, and user-friendly digital timeline. The whole process was simple and relatively fast; honestly, it took longer to find all the images on the UMW archives website. While the timeline doesn’t provide many options for customization and all images must be first hosted online, it does allow the creator to add all sorts of media, and the final product is as engaging and interactive as the creator wants it to be. I will definitely look at using this tool in the final Century America project, and have already started creating another one with some of the records from the Central Rappahannock archives.

Coming Soon: Interactive Mapping


  • I completely agree with you–I was so shocked at how simple the timeline was to create (especially after my trials and tribulations with the map)! And it looks very sleek, too. I’m also with you on the customization front–I wish we could alter the appearance of the timeline. I especially wonder about the customization issue after we’ve been discussing the pros and cons of DH sites and the importance of aesthetics to many viewers. Because we can’t customize the timelines, we may encounter a problem with trying to create a theme/layout that works with the timeline. However, I hope it won’t limit us. Or perhaps there is a different timeline tool available online, if we find that this tool won’t mesh well with what we create. I also ran into the issue of having to have the images hosted online. I had issues with getting a link for one of them, so I thought that uploading would do the trick, but then it just arbitrarily stuck the image in the middle of the spreadsheet. Overall, though, I really love the simplicity of the timeline tool and I think it’s going to be very useful for our final product.

  • Quick question: how did you get the timeline to show in the blog post? I had the link to mine embed to my post, but I could not get the timeline itself to show on the post: just a link to it.

    • I withdraw my previous comment as I successfully jinxed myself by asking the question and then answering it for myself: I discovered the plug in installer and got it to work on my blog! I think we should bring up installing plug-ins for our sites as it is a very useful feature to have (if it has already been brought up, then let’s repeat it!)

      • Colin, I had the same problem and came to the same Googled solution, but Leah gave me the far, far easier answer: you have to type the code in in the “TEXT” view, not the defaul “VISUAL” in WordPress. It’s always the simplest things…

  • Candice, great timeline.

    Colin, you shouldn’t have to use a plug-in to get the timeline to embed in your site. But since you did, I’m curious about which plug-in you used.

  • This timeline is awesome, Candice! I’d love to use this as an example for other UMW students who are using TimelineJS. Would you be willing to let us use your timeline as a template — instead of downloading the template from the TimelineJS website, they would download and edit this one?

    Let me know what you think, and I hope you’re enjoying post-grad life!

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