Visual representations of time in timelines, graphs, and charts

Marilyn Mitchell, Bond University

Document Type Conference Paper

Mitchell, M. (2004) Visual representations of time in timelines, graphs, and charts. Refereed paper presented at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference, Sydney.

To view a full text version of this conference paper please visit the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association.
Copyright ©ANZCA & University of Sydney, 2004.

Abstract

A quick look through many current newspapers and magazines shows that much information is conveyed through information graphics such as economic, scientific, and historical timelines, graphs and charts, many of which contain time-related information. It is important for journalists to understand how these graphics are structured and why they are structured in the ways that they are. This paper presents descriptions of the representation of different types of time (eg historical time, evolutionary time, geological time, etc.) in information graphics and explains the underlying reasons for these representations from a pragmatic basis. Factors such as timescales, coordinate systems, facings of pictorial images, reference points, and visual orientations are considered.