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
  • Fabula combines mapping with multimedia digital storytelling

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