Plaisant, C., Milash, B., Rose, A., Widoff, S., Shneiderman, B. (September 1995)
Life Lines provide a general visualization environment for personal histories that can be applied to medical and court records, professional histories and other types of biographical data. A one screen overview shows multiple facets of the records. Aspects, for example medical conditions or legal cases, are displayed as individual time lines, while icons indicate discrete events, such as physician consultations or legal reviews. Line color and thickness illustrate relationships or significance, scaling tools and filters allow users to focus on part of the information. Life lines reduce the chances of missing information, facilitate spotting anomalies and trends, streamline access to details, while remaining tailorable and easily sharable between applications. The paper describes the use of Life Lines for youth records of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice.and also for medical records. Techniques to deal with complex records are reviewed and issues of a standard personal record format are discussed.