Extending the Library’s Web Presence: Building an Online Timeline Using MIT’s SIMILE Exhibit

Extending the library’s presence beyond a brick and mortar structure is essential as resources become increasingly available in electronic format. One way to achieve this is to create a broad-reaching tool like a timeline using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Semantic Interoperability of Metadata and Information in unLike Environments Exhibit (MIT’s SIMILE Exhibit), a cloud-based program that allows for the creation of data-driven websites with minimal programming or Web expertise. With this easy-to-learn technology, a library can extend its Web presence by providing online access to its rich historical collections. This article is a case study on the implementation of an online timeline, the “Sonoma County Timeline”, which was used to showcase the library’s resources at Sonoma State University. The author also demonstrates how to build a timeline using MIT’s SIMILE Exhibit software, and how a timeline can be used to extend the library’s presence to its community. A guide to managing the project, a status report for the Sonoma State University Library’s instance of Exhibit, and a discussion of best practices are also detailed in the article.