Creating a Timeline for History Research

Ed vermue
"I like the large amounts of text that I can store, and the ability to have multiple chronologies. I like the clean layout you use and the ability to use color and icons to designate things of my choosing."
Ed Vermue, Special Collections and Preservation Librarian, Oberlin College Library

A Complicated Research Project Demands a Robust Organizational Tool

As a librarian, Ed’s role is to connect people with information and help them build understanding. To do this, he needs to develop expertise in specialized topics so he can make relevant resources accessible to scholars.

He’s currently studying specific aspects of the history of the late Roman Empire. Like any good researcher, he draws upon many different types of sources, including books, lectures, podcasts, and more.

The vast amount of information available both on- and off-line today is a huge asset forresearchers like Ed. But it also brings organizational and project management challenges. Without a clear strategy for keeping track of everything, the research process can become messy and overwhelming.

"Even though I’m trying to build chronological knowledge of historical events, I don’t necessarily receive the information that way as I jump from one resource to another," Ed explains. "The pieces of information I want to record don’t arrive in a systematic, chronological, and thematically consistent way."

Ed knew that for his research to be successful, he needed an easy-to-use but powerful tool for organizing the information he uncovered and identifying relationships among key events.

Preceden Handles Lots of Text While Keeping Visuals Clean

Of course, Ed applied his research skills to his search for a project management tool. After scouring reviews online and trying out different products, he settled on Preceden. The main selling point was Preceden’s ability to organize detailed information—including plenty of text—into multiple layers.

"I wasn’t interested in a ‘more show than go’ product that looked like elementary school students might use it," he explains. "I’m more interested in Preceden’s organizational features and storing lots and lots of notes."

Although Ed’s work is text-heavy, he says he also gets a lot of use out of Preceden’s visual features, like color coding and the ability to use icons. These tools help him identify patterns, check for inconsistencies, and draw out important themes.

And although Ed hasn’t tried out Preceden’s more advanced capabilities like integrating spreadsheets or embedding his timelines in websites, he likes knowing he’ll have the option when he’s ready.

Ed Keeps Information Organized and Puts the Pieces Together with Preceden

Like any big project, academic research has a lot of moving parts. Preceden helps Ed keep track of everything and figure out how it all fits together, even when he can’t yet see the whole picture.

Ed explains that information comes to him "like differently colored puzzle pieces." With Preceden, he can accomplish his goal of turning those pieces into something meaningful. "Preceden is the place where the puzzle can slowly take shape," he says.

Although he still has a lot of work to do, Ed feels confident about his ability to stay organized as his project grows.

"This is not a toy," he says. "Preceden works for serious scholarship."

No matter what kind of information you work with, Preceden can help you master it. To see how, try it free today.