The best place to begin looking for tools is the Digital Research Tools (DiRT) database, now an initiative of Project Bamboo.  It’s a directory of tools organized by research activity.  For more specific categories of tools, please see the lists below, which represent a very incomplete and impartial list of digital tools available.

Geospatial and Mapping

  • ArcGIS is proprietary GIS (Geographic Information Systems) platform made by Esri [Rachel says, “Do not try this alone!  Go see the good people in DASIL!”]
  • QGIS (QGIS) is an open source geographic information system [Rachel says, “This is the easier, web application version of ArcGIS.  If you have a Mac, use this.”]
  • Mapbox is a popular set of tools for building interactive maps
  • Worldmap is an open source mapping platform developed by Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis
  • Google Fusion Tables allow you to create a map in minutes [Rachel says, “Literally, you can make a map in minutes.”]
  • Neatline is a set of plugins used with Omeka designed to visualize narratives of space, time, and objects
  • Historypin is a digital, user-generated archive of historical photos, videos, audio recordings and personal recollections. Users are able to use the location and date of their content to “pin” it to Google Maps

Data Visualization

  • Tableau Public allows users to connect to a spreadsheet or file and create interactive data visualizations for the web
  • Palladio is a web-based platform for the visualization of complex, multi-dimensional data
  • Voyant is a web-based text reading and analysis environment [Rachel says, “Use this to make a word cloud.”]
  • Raw Density is a tool for creating vector-based visualization based on data [Rachel says, “This is actually way easier to use than it sounds and you get pretty neat visualizations.”]
  • Simile is a collection of free, open-source web widgets, mostly for data visualizations
  • Gephi is a high powered, open source network analysis tool. 

Timeline Tools

  • Simile Widget is a suite of free, open-source web widgets, mostly for data visualization
  • TimeGlider is web-based timeline builder
  • Timeline Builder (Neatline) allows users to create timelines for Omeka
  • TimelineJS and TimeMapper are an open-source tool for creating interactive, visually-rich timelines [Rachel says, “These are very easy to use and make great timelines/timemaps.”]
  • TimeToast is a tool for creating timelines which can be added to a website or blog
  • ViewShare is free platform for generating and customizing views, such as interactive maps and timelines

Data Cleaning

  • Open Refine is a tool for working with data, cleaning up data, transforming it from one format into another, extending it with web services, and linking it to databases

Text Analysis

  • Juxta is a useful tool for collating and comparing texts
  • Annotation Studio is a suite of collaborative web-based annotation tools
  • Voyant is a web-based text reading and analysis environment
  • MALLET is a tool for topic modeling