Synchronicity seems to be Simile’s strength. The tool plots one or multiple sets of data against one or multiple timeframes, enhancing its users’ contextual awareness. The timeline and timeplot are Simile’s basic mechanisms, the former being pretty self-explanatory with the latter being essentially a line graph. However, Simile enables users to utilize these tools with a little more originality than you learned to use them with in elementary school.
As seen above, the timeline of “The Life of Monet” displays some of Simile’s basic capabilities. Events are labelled with circles, the color of which signifies certain types of events. Here, blue dots denote life events while green ones signify significant Monet paintings. Short descriptions can be accessed by clicking on the circles. Bars indicate ongoing events and two axes are utilized, one labelling years with the other giving Monet’s age. Chronicling a person’s life is nothing new, but Simile’s ability to synthesize information is really showcased in its homepage “JFK Assassination timeline”.
Here, Simile overlaps chaotic events surrounding the murder, plotting them down to the minute, and even second of their occurrence.
The timeplot tool plots numerical information, relying on relative fluctuations instead of an axis with precise values. Finally, the exhibit tool allows users to see applications of Simile, such as plotting the birthplaces of US presidents on a map of the US, or plotting the births of breakfast cereal characters on a timeline.
Simile would provide an interesting way to display information in literature, especially for books such as those in A Song of Ice and Fire (“Game of Thrones”), in which multiple points of view can disrupt time and event linkage. Simile’s ability to render relative significances could be of value to the Huck Finn group, perhaps enabling us to graph different-sized dots – denoting things such as the amount of plot dedicated to a specific location – against the Mississippi River. Plotting the publishing history of authors would also be useful. The preface, by Keith Nelson, of my version of Huckleberry Finn mentions the novel’s location as being a turning point in Mark Twain’s career, with more pessimistic works being published afterwards.