Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Conference paper delivered to the Australian & New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2004.
Mitchell, Marilyn (2004), The visual representation of time in timelines, graphs and charts, ANZCA Conference.
Reproduced with permission of ANZCA (Australian & New Zealand Communication Association)


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.



This document has been peer reviewed.


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