All right. I'm well into my documentation for creating your own timeline. I hope that it will be finished, tested, and posted to the Internet within two weeks.
However, as luck would have it, I've come across another option for creating timelines. I don't have a lot of information about Timefo, and it's still in its Alpha phase, but it looks intriguing. It has an easy form for adding events (see graphic at right). It allows you to incorporate images or videos (it prefers YouTube and Flickr). You can also provide a location for each event and the timeline automatically maps it via Google Maps. There's a search feature that parses the timeline's text for particular terms. You can add labels (kind of like an Event type in my timelines) and tags (so you can link various events of different types/labels). You can also highlight particular types of events. (Timefo manages to do these things in part because it is making use of SIMILE's Timeline API.) Take a look at this timeline of 2008 San Francisco murders to get a sense of how it works. (The site works best with Firefox.)
I've put a quick timeline together and I generally like the results. There are a few drawbacks at the moment. For instance, there is not a way to build a timeline with a group. I assume (or at least hope) that Timefo is planning on implementing such an option. I also think that they could do a better job explaining the difference between tags and labels and the tags could be better implemented. At present, it doesn't seem like you can search among events based on tags. At least, I haven't been able to do this on my timeline. Finally, when you click on an event, you almost always have to scroll down to read it all. The event description and the timeline never seem to fit completely on the screen. And it's not like I'm using small screens or resolution here in ECIT.
I came across Timefo through a post its authors made to the SIMILE listserv in January. In it, they suggest a few things they have planned for the future. These include populating a timeline with RSS (one hopes that it continually updates, unlike xtimeline) or Google Spreadsheets. One proposed feature that I like is the option to share the events on your timeline. What that means is that others could remix your events into their own timeline. So they are thinking about mashing up their own data from the beginning. Very smart.
Right now, Timefo is not really ready for public use. For one thing, it's still not really accepting sign-ups. (FYI You can sign up using the link that I've provided.) And it's lack of group building tools means that at the moment it isn't what I've been looking for in a timeline. But that doesn't mean it can't become that in the future.