The Time When is a test of an idea from the BBC. It could be characterized as a blogging platform aimed at capturing memories from arbitrary points in the past. One enters a memory with an associated date and the location where you were when the event happened. When memories are displayed, the interface also shows a number of related facts drawn from Wikipedia. For example, who the monarch was, who the prime minister was, other important events on that date, etc.
This site poses interesting indexing issues for search engines. Does one index by the post date or the date of the memory? Obviously, the right thing to do would be to allow both, but that would require some schema migration.
The Time When is part of the BBC's backstage initiative - a space for them to engage with developers and other interested parties and to explore new offerings via rapid prototyping. Phil Gyford posts some more info about the site:
For anyone who’s keeping track of such things, The Time When now has a load of RSS feeds, all with satisfyingly tidy URLs. To be accurate there are getting on for 40,000 RSS feeds, but practically this boils down to:
- A feed for all memories posted to the site
- A feed for each user, featuring memories posted by them (see any user’s page for the link).
- A feed that aggregrates memories posted by each user’s friends.
- A feed for every day on the site, listing memories posted about it. ie, 7 July 2005 has its own feed, as does every day since 1900.
Admittedly, most dates are devoid of memories at the moment but maybe this opens things up for other interesting purposes. If none of this makes sense, see the BBC’s page explaining RSS feeds.
Today’s other new feature is the ability to search for users by name.
There isn't much commentary on the service yet in the blogosphere. Open implies that some way to navigate the data geographically would be pretty sweet - I couldn't agree more!