Today in history

Log in to Vote
220
220 Votes • 36 Comments
Searching for, "today in history" or "this day in history" would bring back famous events (maybe birthdays/deathdays) from the same day, in the past.
• posted 5 years and 4 months ago • type: Spice (API calls) Live

anonymous
posted by [UserVoice Donnie Murdock] • 5 years and 3 months ago Link
anonymous
posted by [UserVoice Donnie Murdock] • 5 years and 3 months ago Link
anonymous
Is it already done or can i attempt this?
posted by [UserVoice Pavan Sudheendra] • 5 years and 2 months ago Link
anonymous
Hmm... Maybe you can use data on Wikipedia`s "On This Day" data?
posted by [UserVoice Reno Octa] • 5 years and 23 days ago Link
anonymous
I'm going to start working on this. I'll look at Wikipedia, but I think the most obvious source is to just grab a paragraph from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-histo... which updates every day. Easy.
posted by [UserVoice Shaquil] • 4 years and 10 months ago Link
anonymous
Hi. I would like to take this and work on it if no one else is doing so.
posted by [UserVoice Chaitanya Nettem] • 4 years and 8 months ago Link
anonymous
I have started pulling data from wikipedia. And I realised that there is just too much that happened on each day. For instance see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_12

Any ideas on how I could filter it down?
posted by [UserVoice Chaitanya Nettem] • 4 years and 8 months ago Link
anonymous
That seems doable. I'll try that.
posted by [UserVoice Chaitanya Nettem] • 4 years and 8 months ago Link
anonymous
Get inspired by wikipedia seems to be a good idea, and maybe link to it in a first time
posted by [UserVoice Robert59] • 4 years and 8 months ago Link
anonymous
No doubt people have heard the phrase, "Those who do not remember history, are condemned to repeat it" That is (I think accurately) attributed to the brilliant general, Santa Ana. That was the same commander who obliterated the Alamo. That was not "nice". But the guy, the general was still able to do his job (kill us, hey I don't make the rules, I just have to live with them.) As he did. Sad for the people at the Alamo, this guy was very good at his job.

But for one (?) Perhaps brief moment, he saw "reality" from a third person perspective. Or an unbiased, honest POV, aka: someone with no preconceived notion's.

When anyone experience's that, it's usually called a psychotic break. Unless in what ever state they are in, other's see and have, flash's of insight, tied to whatever this odd person said. The same idea in one situation will get you locked up. In another, you'll be giving lecture's at a nation's military academies. Like Santa Ana in his time, it's all in the timing... Sometimes it really is just that simple. And that usually mean's it's also just common sense. We call people "brilliant" if they just happen to be the first, witnessed example of whatever, and it's felt as "common sense" one because it is, and two, it's noticed. History it is said is written by the winner's. That's only true to a certain point.

History is really made, by people who take a few minuets, to give a dam. And that mean's writing it down. After all, the easiest way to predict the future, is to invent it. Believe it or not, while nothing is ever 100%, this I think is as close to that as is possible. it really does work, ok, most of the time...
posted by [UserVoice Robert] • 4 years and 5 months ago Link
anonymous
Shaquil: that sounds like a great idea! My only concern is that the History Channel is no doubt more likely to change their URL scheme or move the This Day In History feature to a different location than Wikipedia is. Although you probably have followed for longer than I have, so you would know.
posted by [UserVoice Anonymous] • 4 years and 5 months ago Link
anonymous
Any update on this? Is someone working on it?
posted by [UserVoice Bibhas C Debnath] • 4 years and 3 months ago Link
anonymous
Its been a while... any word yet?
posted by [UserVoice Justin] • 4 years and 3 months ago Link
anonymous
The biggest problem with this is determining the importance of each event to know which one to show. If this is only for births and deaths, the first thing that came to mind was to query DDG for that person's name and see how many results it returned, then displaying the one with the most results, or all those that make X% of results. With events it takes a lot more, not only because determining the importance of an event is quite hard and the format is not fixed, but because you have to take many things into consideration, such as users' geolocation (as Argentinian, I find "1945 – Argentinian labour leader José Peter declares the Federación Obrera de la Industria de la Carne dissolved." more important than "1948 – Wilhelmina, Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands cedes throne.", even though from a neutral point of view, a queen ceding throne is much, much more important).

I've never done something for DDG, so I'm not sure how easily it can be done, but I figured I could give my 2 cents in case somebody finds them useful.
posted by [UserVoice Matias Pino] • 4 years and 2 months ago Link
anonymous
Matias,

Valid point :) User location would be less of an issue because we show the same results to everyone by default, regardless of location, since it makes no assumptions about the user's intent.
For the importance of a particular event, there are some cues from Wikipedia that can help like the number of categories an entity belongs to. Definitely a few ways to do this so, if interested, feel free to take a ***** at it and email us at open@duckduckgo.com with any questions.
posted by [UserVoice Zac] • 4 years and 2 months ago Link
yegg
Bibhas, we haven't received a pull request but Shaquil (lower in the thread) mentioned that he was working on it.

Feel free to pick it up!
posted by yegg Staff4 years and 3 months ago Link
yegg
There has been some work but using a different source (history.com) that only provided an XML API and not a JSON API.
The idea to use Wikipedia could still work, though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_12 if the developer would decide on a heuristic for which events to show (e.g. 1 event for each 200 years)
posted by yegg Staff4 years and 3 months ago Link
yegg
Thanks for working on this, Shaquil! Another option would be to extract some info from Wikipedia pages on todays_date : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_11
posted by yegg Staff4 years and 10 months ago Link
yegg
You could potentially limit it to 1 event within a time range. For example, the link you posted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_12

You could slice all returned events into 4 sections, by year:

254-1821
1862-1937
1941-1975
1978-2008

^^In that case, you could just randomly deliver 1 event from each time range, which should give 4 overall. This will not work for births/deaths, though--because most people on the list aren't famous enough for people to care. You could grab 1 or 2 from the births/deaths section, if you think they'd be an interesting addition.
posted by yegg Staff4 years and 8 months ago Link
yegg
Thanks, Chaitanya ---from the comments below, it appears that Shaquil may be working on this. We haven't received a pull request for it, though, so feel free to hack away!

Shaquil, please sync up with Chaitanya if at all possible.
posted by yegg Staff4 years and 8 months ago Link
loganom
Has there been any progress made on this IA? I was wondering if the Perl Web::Scraper would be appropriate for a spice. I saw yegg mentioned that an XML API might exist from history.com but I have not been able to turn anything up (hence my use of Web::Scraper). Anyway, I am currently working on this, as it seems to me that this has not received a lot of attention from developers over past months.
posted by loganom Community Leader4 years and 19 days ago Link
chaitanyanettem
Hey loganom. I had started some work on this earlier but I couldn't continue because of other obligations. I came back to this today (coincidentally) and wrote some code for scraping data from wikipedia. My piece of code is at https://gist.github.com/chaitanyanettem/...

Currently my code access all 366 days of the year and writes the events, births and deaths to files (1 for each day). There are a few bugs that I am trying to iron out.
posted by chaitanyanettem 4 years and 19 days ago Link
loganom
I'll get my code on git or other site so you can check it out later today, and I'll post the link here, but I've scraped history.com and find the fact that they have a lead story and a minimal number of other facts to be advantagous. How would you decide what to display?
posted by loganom Community Leader4 years and 19 days ago Link
loganom
posted by loganom Community Leader4 years and 19 days ago Link
chaitanyanettem
The problem with History.com is that there layout can easily change. Wikipedia on the other hand strives to maintain the same layout and changes are few and far.
posted by chaitanyanettem 4 years and 18 days ago Link
loganom
Yes, that is a fair point.

With wikipedia there is less for us to maintain, though it is harder for us to determine what story to return.
With History.com, as you pointed out, the format of the source could change more frequently. However, we do not need an effective heuristic for returning stories. They list only ~20.

I haven't been here very long. What do you all think is the most favorable choice?

@chaitanyanettem
@zac
@yegg
posted by loganom Community Leader4 years and 18 days ago Link
chaitanyanettem
I think for a start yegg's suggestion is workable. I can get that functionality done in little time.

If someone could clarify whether this should in fact be longhead and not spice then I will go ahead and get the necessary functionality up.
posted by chaitanyanettem 4 years and 18 days ago Link
chaitanyanettem
Should this not be a fathead type of instant answer? It is my understanding that wikipedia will have to be scraped for data and then that data will need to be stored locally.
posted by chaitanyanettem 4 years and 19 days ago Link
loganom
I was hoping yegg or someone could classify this if we use scraping to retrieve the data.
posted by loganom Community Leader4 years and 19 days ago Link
zac
Depends on what type of source the data is coming from. If we can get a dump of the data (or scrape for it), then it would likely be a fathead. If accessed by an API, though, it would be a Spice.
posted by zac Staff4 years and 4 days ago Link
anonymous
Just to add my 2 cents' worth, I just love "This Day in History" listings--I collect & bookmark them, & have a list of them in a Notepad file!

I realize this post makes no contribution, except for my support...
posted by <hidden> • 3 years and 8 months ago Link
talsraviv
This answer has gone live! More about it here: https://duck.co/ia/view/today_in_history
posted by talsraviv 2 years and 9 months ago Link
anonymous
Am i the only one having trouble getting this to work? I looked up "today in history" this day in history" and 'April 16 in history" and nothing happened. tried it in safari, chrome, Firefox and on two computers, still nothing. I switched my my location from Canada to USA, no luck.

Could someone please help

thanks pat
posted by <hidden> • 2 years and 9 months ago Link
anonymous
Looks like the dev IA status is "Testing".

It was merged into the codebase but there's no news on it so far that I can find.
posted by <hidden> • 2 years and 1 month ago Link
This comment has been removed for violation of our forum rules.
posted by <hidden> • 2 years and 1 month ago
This comment has been removed for violation of our forum rules.
posted by <hidden> • 1 year and 11 months ago