Justin Li

Displaying Calendars


I've talked about my small obsession with digital calendars before. I just want to mention that "logarithmic calendars" seem to be in vogue recently. Then I discovered the timeline widget from the MIT Simile project. It's a cool idea, displaying the same data in two separate views in different time scales. I also like how time is truly represented in a single dimension, allowing the user the scroll infinitely into the past or the future. Having played with it a little, my only complaint is that creating and syncing more than three such timelines really slows down the browser, which is unfortunately, as it would be cool to simultaneously see events on the day, week, month, year, and decade scales. I think for this to work there would also need to be a hierarchical classification of events. We definitely think of history in this way (World War II being a time period, but within which could be further divided into battles, and each battle into smaller engagements and skirmishes), and there's literature suggesting that our brains organize our past experiences in this way too (Conway, 1996. Autobiographical Memories and Autobiographical Knowledge). This makes me think of Gantt charts, but I have yet to see a good integration of logarithmic calendars (although I haven't really looked).