Amateur or budding history buffs will probably get a kick out of History Calendar, a new history app for the iPad that puts the 411 on important events at your fingertips.
Designed to look like a stylish encyclopedia-stocked bookshelf, this app serves up tidbits of historical information on everything from wars and natural disasters to politicians and significantly important births and deaths.
History Calendar lets users choose from two menus: “Top Events” or a “History Browser” that gives a quick snapshot view of important events throughout the ages–the latter menu is where things can get fun, browsing for interesting tidbits about the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, etc. The information here isn’t very detailed–you can’t use this app to help you write a term paper but it might help you prep for that upcoming trivia pub quiz or give you quick access to dates about which you’re curious.
What I liked: History Calendar is an easy way to check out significant events–as well as notable births and dates–for any date in history. There are plenty of links, too, so if you come across a person, place or thing you want to learn more about, it’s usually fast and easy to access additional information. There’s also a handy browser that lets you search for information by decade or even an era (“High Middle Ages,” “Civil War era,” “World War II,” et al). The layout is also crisp and clean and a wealth of high-resolution photos makes it easy on the eye.
What I didn’t like: The landing page timeline for each date is organized a bit haphazardly–for example, one date entry seemed to list events in no particular order–starting with an event in 1975, jumping back to 1865 and then suddenly forward again to 1910. The information here also isn’t that in-depth–although as mentioned before, the interface does allow you to fall down the rabbit hole of history via a series of links–it really just gives a teaser’s worth of details. Finally, much–if not most–of the information here seems to be lifted directly from Wikipedia, without any credit given to the site or additional information added to give it new or deeper context.
To buy or not to buy: Since it’s free, it’s definitely worth a download if you’re looking for a relatively easy-to-navigate aggregation of important historical events. Fun for history and trivia buffs and useful for students and educators, too.