Digital Humanities Lab #3 Tiki Toki Timelines

Just finished teaching this class, and overall it went well–if by “well” I mean students didn’t entirely mutiny. 75% of the students not only completed the assignment but also had time to get creative. My main requirements were that students would first find the timeline site, create an account, learn the steps for creating timeline entries and then read a couple established websites to do some research on Emily Dickinson and/or Harriet Jacobs. I also wanted them to understand why including the URL was important. Not only does it help everyone avoid plagiarism, it also helps students participate in an active way, sharing sites with one another.

Uneven preparation continues to hinder smooth progress: some students don’t have internet and so use classtime for things other than our research, etc. I require them to post the URL for their timeline to be sure that they have at least walked through the steps.

My Instructions for Creating Your Own Tiki-Toki Timeline for Women Writers

NOTE: You can develop one or more Tiki-Toki timelines for your final project if you wish. Today everyone will be tinkering with one.

IMPORTANT: By the end of class, post the URL for your tiki-toki timeline in this forum to get credit for attendance.

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “free sign up”
    1. Choose a username: “YOURNAMEEnglish260”
    2. Type in your email address
    3. Choose an easy-to-remember password
    4. Click on the box that says “I agree to terms…” and click “Sign Up”
    5. Once you have signed up, click on “log in” and type your new username and password.
    6. Once you are logged in, click “Create New Timeline”
    7. Click on the triangle that says “ADMIN”
    8. Go to “Settings” in the ADMIN box at the top right-hand side of the screen.
    9. Give your timeline a title. You can change this in future if you wish.
    10. Choose a start and end date. You should start around 1800 for our purposes, although this can change if you wish later.
    11. Click on “SAVE”.
    12. Next, we’re going to write an entry for our timeline.
    13. Go to this link:
    14. Reading this page, I find that 1890 is the date when E.D.’s first volume is published.
    15. To add an entry, we go to the ADMIN box and click on “stories.” Then we go to “+Create New Story”
    16. We give the story a title: “First volume of E.D. poems published.”
    17. We give the story a date: We know it’s 1890, but right now I’m not sure what month, so I will write January.
    18. Now enter the information, perhaps putting some context: “Four years after her death, her first volume of poems is published.
    19. Now copy and paste the link into the place where it says “Link”. This will allow your readers to know where you found this information and to follow up. You MUST provide a link to information that is in your timeline. If you use information you find elsewhere, you should include that citation within the story block.
    20. Click “save.”
    21. Now we’re going to create a category so that when you add different women writers to your timeline you can easily see which one the timeline is about. You can change these later, but we’ll do the same one together today.
    22. Go to the ADMIN block and click on “Categories”.
    23. Click “Create New Category”
    24. Give a title “Emily Dickinson” to the first one.
    25. Click on the “colour” bar and choose a color.
    26. Click “SAVE.”
    27. Now go to your story on Emily Dickinson and Click “Edit.”
    28. Go to “category” and Choose “Emily Dickinson.”
    29. Click SAVE.
    30. Now for the rest of class, spend time reading around in the links below. When you find interesting information that would be useful in a timeline of E.D., go to your tiki-toki timeline and follow these same instructions. Be sure you include the link where you found the info each time you add a new story.


Doc McGrail’s Tiki Toki Timeline is here.!date=1830-12-10_12:00:00!

For Emily Dickinson:

General Information:

A timeline of Emily Dickinson’s life

Dickinson archives with interesting photographs (“deguerrotypes”) of two women, one of them Dickinson the other Kate Scott, who some believe E.D. was in love with:

A university research site:

A site that explores E.D.’s poetry and correspondence with Susan Huntington Dickinson, her sister-in-law.

For fun: a collection of E.D.’s letters to Thomas W Higginson—for a look at her handwriting:

For Harriet Jacobs:

General research:

PBS Series on Harriet Jacobs

A timeline of Civil War-related events:


2 thoughts on “Digital Humanities Lab #3 Tiki Toki Timelines

  1. Sandy Brown Jensen

    How did the students do with text only instructions? I often find I can cut through the confusion by providing a screencapture video. This is an intriguing assignment; I’d like to try it myself!

  2. Doc McGrail Post author

    hi sandy,

    since we’re in the computer lab on fridays, i have my own tiki-toki up
    on the screen, walking them through all these steps. so you’re right that
    if you were going to send them to do the assignment on their own or
    online, you’d want screencaptures or screencastomatics. but i was
    a live (gasp!) demo model for this project. shocking to report in these times, i know….

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