NeatlineTime Search Problems

I recently installed the NeatlineTime plug-in, eager to see an improved timeline feature. However, it seems almost impossible to get the timeline to find the items I'd like to add to it. I search terms, tags, identifiers, etc. verbatim and the search function cannot locate them to add to the timeline. Maybe 1 or 2 items will show up, but that's it.

I have had nothing but frustration from this plug-in so far. It would be much more helpful if the plug-in simply allowed the admin to add items by name to a timeline, rather than trying to figure out the mystical formula that will actually pull them up in search. I think I may revert to Simile for the time being. If anyone has any tips, they would be appreciated!

Also, even when search does retrieve items, they are placed on the timeline on dates that are no way associated with them, e.g., a photo that I have dated in multiple fields as '1939' appears on the timeline around 1970 (???). I am very confused as to why this happens, since there is absolutely no metadata associated with the item that could suggest that date.

I think there is also a problem with how timeline recognizes W3C/ISO dating-an item I have marked as 1963-01-08 for January 8, 1963 shows up on the timeline at August 1, 1963.


Sorry it's been a frustrating experience for you so far. Hopefully we'll either work it out or figure out what bugs are stopping you.

First, the search interface is based on the standard Omeka search interface, so it's hard to say what's happening with it without a specific example. Do you have anything publicly available we could look at? Or a specific title or something you searched for, and information about the item you excepted to find but didn't, including the value of its Date field.

One work-around if you don't mind getting everything included is to search for a range of IDs with a very, very large number (e.g., "1-10000") or putting "%" (a wildcard) in the title field.

Second, could you give us exactly what the Date field for that '1939' item contains? That'll help see if we can reproduce the date issues.

It's possible that there are timezone related issues with parsing dates. That may explain why it got month and day reversed. Without knowing something about the system you're running Omeka on, it's hard to say again.

Finally, let us know what parts of the documentation could be more clear to help you work through your issues?

Get back to me, and we can try to coax it into shape.


I'm still not sure about the search problems, but Jeremy and I had a chance to look at the date parsing issues you were seeing, and I was able to add some fixes.

For the issue with month and day being switched, we figured out that it's paying attention to your locale instead of using ISO-8601. Apparently, if you are in a locale that uses month-day ordering, like the US, it swaps the order of those elements even in dates formatted the way you entered them. If you change your locale to, say, "es," the dates are parsed correctly, but everything's translated into Spanish. I opened an issue for this -- Date parsing depends on the locale -- in which we attempt to parse those strings separately, and it appears to take care of that issue.

The issue with the years by themselves is more difficult, not technically, but semantically. Where should "2000" show up on the timeline? As a range covering the entire year? As Jan 1, 2000? Jun 30, 2000? None of those seem right. Instead, the fix for Years are not parsed correctly is to not recognize years by themselves. You need to specify those dates more precisely, because I'm afraid that asking me to read your mind will just make everyone unhappy.

If you want to download these fixes, they're at this location. This isn't a new release, but it's a snapshot of the latest development. You should be able to unzip this on top of your current NeatlineTime directory and be ready to go.