DBpedia and Simile Timeline

Simile Timeline provides a neat way to display events and we have been using it on the FOLD project and on the DSA module to represent the events in the life of music artists and groups, with data extracted by hand from a copy of the Rolling Stones Review. Having discovered DBpedia, it seems obvious to progress to using this data source instead. The XQuery code is presented in an article in the Wikibook

The endpoint is

and the parameter is the wikpedia page name (with underscores)

Some examples:

Only the album cover is displayed in the pop-up, with links to Wikipedia and DBpedia. Coverage of the minimal data required is quite good, but there are gaps, and the format of the release date varies. This is partly due to the need to encode not only the data but also the accuracy with which the date is known. Some wikipedians have used xs:gYear and xs:gYearMonth. The xs:date format, being bigendian, seems to naturally support progressive accuracy, but of course partial values like 2007-12 are not valid. In this example, I 've merely hacked a year out but this is not satisfactory.

There is also an HTML page view of the same data,with added comment text: e.g.

The Allman Brothers Band

A separate query creates an index, with links to both views, derived from a Category:

The next step is to derive a set of life events for the group and group members - births, marriages and deaths - to place on a parallel timeline.