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"Lightweight" Digital Tools and Resources’s Docs “Lightweight” Digital Tools and Tutorials

A group of Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) postdocs interested in digital humanities pedagogy started this running list of favored digital tools for text analysis, mapping, visualization, and more.  I’ve expanded it here and included relevant tutorials.  Please feel free to add further tool categories, tools, and resources as you see fit.


HistoryPin: a free cultural heritage mapping tool that allows students to explore layers of cultural history in existing mapping projects, add to existing projects, and create their own maps and collections. HistoryPin Tutorials

Google Fusion Tables: Great for simple mapping over time. Based on google spreadsheet, google automatically transforms data with geographic information into a map.

Neatline: Also a tool for mapping over time. Allows for more complex story telling and multiplicity. Requires a local instance of

Hypercities: Built on the google maps/google earth interface with an archive of historical maps that can be layered on top of contemporary maps. The historical maps allow you to tell historical stories with an awareness of space. New historical maps can be geo-coded and uploaded. For more about Hypercities, check out the book, Hypercities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities, and the book’s website.


Tiki-Toki: allows students to create visually striking interactive timelines with multimedia content. Tiki-Toki Tutorial

Publishing and Curation

Omeka: An exhibit publishing platform that can be customized through a long (and growing) number of plugins. Omeka Tutorials here and here.

Scalar: A digital book publishing platform that can create linear and non-linear stories. Pulls directly from online archives like The Internet Archive, Critical Commons, YouTube, the Shoah Foundation Archive (and others), to include multi-media materials in your book without copyright concerns. Note from Rachel: I’ve used Scalar and lot and am happy to talk with anyone if they are interested in using/starting/exploring Scalar’s possibilities. Also, they offer free webinars that are really helpful for getting started and building expertise.


Annotation Studio: a suite of web-based tools for collaborative text annotation. Annotation Studio Tutorial

Genius: for crowd-sourcing and layering annotations.  You can either work with texts already uploaded on the site, or upload your own texts.  Useful for having students annotate literary and rhetorical texts, but also great for things like crowd-sourcing an annotated bibliography in class.

Curriculet: Annotation tool for literature. Users can embed quizzes, images, text, video etc. to ebook files. Marketed for k-12 but ithas potential for interesting uses in higher ed.

ThingLink: Image annotator. Create hotspots on image files and layer in other images, text etc. $35/year for educators and free for limited use.

Jing: Screencast and screenshot annotator. Great to layer in quick audio for assignments or narrate video clips.

Text Analysis

Voyant Tools: for analysis of any text document. Easy copy paste interface makes it a great gateway to other digital tools. It provides a corpus reader and can create automatically generated visualizations including word clouds and scatter plots. Other tools include key word in context, collocation of words, Rezo Viz a tool to link people and location across texts, and word frequency both in a single document and across a corpus of texts. A full list of tools can be found hereVoyant Tutorials

Audio Tools

Pop Up Archive: takes an uploaded audio file and transcribes and tags it automatically.

Games and Gamification

Data and Network Visualization

3D Modeling


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