Key Concepts

Parts of a Timeline

The following table describes key concepts within Aeon Timeline:

Template When creating a new timeline, you will be asked to select an initial template based on your industry and the purpose of your timeline. These templates use industry-appropriate terms to describe the type and structure of the data that can be created in that timeline file. Templates are provided for a range of industries including Fiction, Project Management, Legal, Education, and Historical. The template can be further customised when first creating the timeline, or by accessing the timeline settings after the timeline is created.
Item Item is the collective term used for anything you want to add to your timeline. Every item has:
  • An item type such as event/person/place/project (the available types is configurable, and depends on your chosen template);
  • A text label
  • Many other optional fields, including dates, relationships with other items, and additional text and number properties

Items can be broadly divided into events (or event-like items) and entities, as described below, although these terms are somewhat fluid.

Item types Every item added to a timeline is an instance of a particular  item type. Each template defines its own set of item types for that industry, for example:
  • Fiction templates define item types such as Event, Scene, Backstory, Character, Location, and Story Arc
  • Project Management templates define item types such as Project, Task, and Employee
  • Legal templates define item types such as Case, Fact, Party, Organisation, and Testimony

An item's type determines the type of data it can have (e.g. is it allowed dates), the type of relationships it can have with other items, and where it can be shown in the application (e.g. can it be displayed on the timeline or in the narrative)

Events Many of the items you add to your timeline will be event-like items (or events for short). Item types (e.g. Event, Scene, Task, Fact) are event-like if they can have dates and can be included in the chronological order of items. These are generally the items that you would expect to be displayed as nodes in the Timeline and Subway Views, and act as rows in the Relationship Views.
Entities Other items added to your timeline, including People, Places and Projects, are better described as entities. Entities are usually items associated with events, but are not events themselves. These are generally the items that can be accessed via the Sidebar, and viewed as tracks in the Subway View or columns in the Relationship View.
Relationships Relationships represent connections between items, and involves two items and a Relationship Type indicating the type of relationship that exists between those items. Each template defines its own set of relationship types to match with the item types it contains. Examples of relationships could include:
  • A "witness" relationship between a person and an event (indicating that the person observed the event happening)
  • A "project" relationship between a task and a project (indicating that the task forms part of a project)
  • A "friend" relationship between two people

It is possible for more than one relationship to exist between the same two items (e.g. Darth Vader is both a father and an enemy of Luke Skywalker)

Relationship Types Every relationship added to a timeline is an instance of a particular relationship type. This, in effect, provides a text label describing the relationship between two different items. Each template defines its own set of relationship types for that industry.
Properties All items have a standard set of associated data fields, including a label, color, summary, tags (keywords), and start and end dates (where enabled). Each template defines a further set of text, numeric and boolean (yes/no) properties associated with different item types. For example, a Person may have a Gender property.
The narrative represents a separate presentational order of items, that is separate from the strict chronological order of events. You can read more about this in Chronological vs Narrative Order.