Here’s a pointer to an interesting tool for working with timeline data. Part of a larger research project at MIT called SIMILE that also looks worth investigating.
a AJAX widget for visualizing time-based events from a simple XML file, without the need for software installation, server-side or client-side. users can pan the timeline by dragging it horizontally.
see also google trends & timeline of trends & history of programming languages.
[mit.edu (religion timeline example) & mit.edu (example list)] [From information aesthetics]