We attribute creation of history to the Greeks. And over the centuries we have compiled a gigantic record of past events. Most of it is stored in books and other physical entities. And over the past few years with the invention of wikipedia we have slowly moved towards digitizing our knowledge.
Yet there’s a draw back in keeping history in a text form, it makes it difficult to navigate and analyze. With books as in with wikepedia the structure of the language that it is written in prevents us from comparing analyzing it with other histories. It is magnificent that we have thousands of records on the life of let say Stalin or Churchill, but you can only find so much information on their interaction, but if you want to look at also adding Hitler to the mix there are probably only a hand full of publications. And by looking at disjoint sources many details may be omitted. Plus the analysis is build on the foundation of previous analysis which is inherently biased to who wrote it.
Data, on the other hand, allows one to omit the usual biased and to combine any permutation of events while tying them to other events. The only problem is that this sort of data is not available. And where certain metrics were kept they rarely if ever go past 100 years in the past.
The are multiple attempts to teach computer how to understand the natural language and read our history, but they are far from perfect and they still generalize too much to get to the objective.
Histolines is an attempt to create such a data set. Where we keep track of well organized collection of events and let the reader navigate through them by collection of people or time period.
When it matures ad fills in we can have unbiased record of what some of the greatest men and women have done through out time, and we will be able to visualize it like never before.
Data might scare an everyday readers of history, but in our digital age we interact with databases everyday form flight to bank statements to facebook.
This information exists but getting to it requires hours of research. Transforming it to data form would help us navigate and analyze it with much more ease and will enable discovery of interactions that have never been seen before.
Unfortunately one or 100 people cannot compile such a record so we at Histolines open it to everyday fan of history to populate this potentially enormous database.