Class Projects - Spring 2013


TimeOutline helps reporters quickly understand new topics by creating a vertical timeline of important time-related information, culled from multiple articles.

Timeoutline project from the Collaborative Innovation class Spring 2013.
What it does

TimeOutline was developed with journalists, working on tight deadlines and unfamiliar topics, in mind. It helps them quickly research and understand a story so they may efficiently advance the story with future reporting. The service may also solve a need for news consumers who wish to quickly understand complex stories that have developed over many news cycles. It gives users the chance to understand how events unfolded chronologically, which is not always clear by reading articles alone.

How it works

Article editors manually create the backbone of TimeOutline stories by filling in a timeline that highlights major points in a story. TimeOutline generates a vertical timeline that links events chronologically (blue dots indicate the article's publish date and yellow dots indicate major events in the story). Users can hover over these dots to view a short description of the event. Users can also click on the excerpt to be taken directly to the full article.

Next Steps
  • Improve automatic date detection.
  • Algorithms to bring in news articles from across the web on a particular story rather than just content from one publisher.
  • Improve usability via task analysis tests to understand the app's ease of use.

A reader's view of the tool.

The editor's interface.


Application (click on an individual article to see the timeline functionality)

More about how TimeOutline was built

Initial Concept: Rich Gordon

Student Team: Ajai Sreevatsan (journalism), Yee Wai (computer science), Audrey Ross (computer science), Sheeka Strickland  (journalism)

Faculty Guidance: Larry Birnbaum, Rich Gordon, and Kris Hammond (with assistance from Shawn O’Banion)