One of the things the Internet does best is to facilitate changes and updates to existing data and material. Timeliness is absolutely critical for many kinds of business information and is highly desirable in almost all other kinds. The superiority of a conscientiously updated web site over paper-based products of a similar nature is one of the givens of the information revolution.
This certainly can be seen in business timelines, a very valuable way to quickly track the past-to-present development of a company, industry, or business, financial, or economic situation.
To understand the background of a company, it is often useful to see how it has progressed over time. Many company web sites include chronologies or timelines; be aware that in using them you are getting what the company itself wants to include and/or emphasize. Independent sources may add to or subtract from the "party line." Wal-Mart provides a concise yet informative example of a self-provided timeline. On the other hand, the General Motors timeline from CBS News furnishes details that GM itself might not have been inclined to emphasize. Our subscription database, Business and Company Resource Center, often provides timelines for the many companies that it covers.
An industry timeline often is a way to effectively summarize growth and change. The History of Cars Timeline covers critical events from 1769 to 2002. The History of Soft Drinks Timeline might not be quite as pivotal; still, it covers nearly the same time frame (1798-1981) and does so in considerable detail.
For an overview of an event or development, a timeline is at least a good entry point. The BBC's timeline, Credit Crunch to Downturn, clearly shows how a potential financial armageddon could have been developing. From potential to actuality, here are some timelines that attempt to document and possibly explain the Great Depression.
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