Links Roundup #22

saddle and ropeApps for Academics

Crystal pointed me to the site Smallwow Best Apps for Academics.  Created by Nicole Hennig, it is a companion for the 2014 book Best Apps for Academics by Hennig and Pam Nicholas.  Smallwow gets a big wow – excellently organized LibGuide with pages for apps for productivity, reading, library research, taking notes, writing, collaborating, presenting, and a page for resources.  It is pretty iOS-centric, one of the few downsides from my Android point of view, but iPads are very popular.

Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog has an article that points to a Chrome  and Firefox extension that opens up a LOT of functionality for handling your tabs, such as grouping tabs and making a web page of tabs that can be shared with others.

TabTimes has an article on Parallels, an app for iOS and Android that allows one to control a PC or Mac from a smartphone or tablet.  It requires a subscription, but the annual cost has come down to $20.

The American Association for School Librarians (AASL) puts out an annual list of the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning which features websites (often apps or software).  Their description:  “The 2013 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. They are free, Web-based sites that are user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover.”  The categories are Media Sharing, Digital Storytelling, Manage and Organize, Social Networking and CommunicationsContent Resources, and Curriculum Collaboration.   Looks like a useful set of tools.

Citation/Research Management

Colwiz is a research management tool that includes reference management, calendars, to-do lists/project management, PDF managment, collaboration options, and more.  They have just upgraded their reference and PDF options through a Chrome extension that allows you to, while on a journal website, identify references, make it and the PDF available for import, allow annotating PDFs while still on the web, then add the annotated PDFs into your Colwiz library which can be viewed on the web, in the desktop software, or with mobile apps.  The information on the updates was in an email, so I can’t offer a URL other than the top level site.

Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher has added two posts on how to integrate Zotero with Scrivener, a writing software popular with academic researchers.  The first one is How to Use Zotero with Scrivener – Pt. 1, and the next one is (wait for it…) How to Use Zotero with Scrivener – Pt. 2.

Another useful post from Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher is Adding Citations to Google Docs using Zotero and Paperpile. I had not heard of Paperpile before, and sounds to me like once having imported a Zotero library one can then use Paperpile to manage references.  Paperpile is a Chrome app, does have a small monthly subscription, and is in the process of adding features, of which it already has an impressive number.

Cloud Storage

Jason Heppler’s recent Profhacker post Use Copy for Cloud Storage Backup and File Sharing discusses Copy, a product similar to Dropbox but with a better pricing structure (including 15 GB free).

The storage wars continue, as the CNET article Microsoft OneDrive Jumps to 15 MB Free details.  This makes it equal to Google Drive.

Evernote/OneNote/Notebook Software

Jamie Todd Rubin, Evernote’s Going Paperless Ambassador, generally writes clear well-organized columns about using Evernote.  In a recent post he describes how his use of Evernote has evolved over his years of using it, and it is interesting to see how a workflow of a busy professional has evolved.

Microsoft OneNote has added a feature in which you can email your OneNote account and put a URL in the subject or message body and it will send a screenshot of that web page into your default notebook.  It is nice, but doesn’t quite have the functionality of Evernote’s Web Clipper.

Catherine Pope continues to have really terrific posts on technologies of use to academic researchers in her blog The Digital Researcher.  Try out this post How to Annotate Images in Evernote.

Melanie Pinola on Lifehacker Australia has a post Send Your Kindle Book Notes and Highlighted Passages to Evernote.  Since Evernote searches the contents of all your notes, this could be a really useful.

A Microsoft OneNote developer has created an add-on called Onetastic that adds some cool options, such as various ways of sorting, adding a calendar or table of contents to a note, and more. The video included in the article is short but informative.  The site for the add-on is here.


Alex Campbell on PCWorld has a useful article on using Feed Rinse to set up RSS feeds and add filters to them to get only the the information you want, and then use IFTTT to send the feeds as SMS texts.  You could, of course, change that to your email or however else you want to see them.

 Mind Mapping

Jacob O’Gara has a nice roundup of the 15 best mind mapping tools on the Digital Trends website.  It has a nice mix of paid, free, and freemium; various operating systems, web based, and apps; lists some features of each and includes screenshots.

Operating Systems

Eric Ligman, a manager at Microsoft, has a post offering 300 or so free ebooks on Microsoft products, including various version of Windows, Office 365, Sharepoint, Moodle-Office 365 Plugin, the various Office products, lots of keyboard shortcuts for various products, various guides for developers and system administrators, and more.

Lifehacker does an annual roundup of their favorite essential applications for different platforms.  For example, Lifehacker Pack for Windows: Our List of the Essential Windows Apps, has apps in many categories, including Productivity, Internet and Communication, Utilities, and more.  The one for Macs is also available, as is the one for Android, Android tablets, Chrome, Firefox, as well as the one for iPhone, the iPad, and the Linux one.


Found Slides through the Scout Report.  It looks like a great option for creating presentation slides.  It is in the cloud, syncs to a variety of devices, has a lot of customization options, and its free version allows 250 Mb of storage for publicly available slide decks.  Let us know in the comments if you have used it and your experiences with it.

Productivity Techniques

Alan Henry‘s post on Lifehacker Productivity 101: A Primer to the Pomodoro Technique is an excellent introduction to Francesco Cirillo‘s popular tomato-based productivity tool.  It discusses what Pomodoro is, the steps for getting started, apps that help you work with Pomodoro, who it works best for, integrating it with other productivity techniques, and additional reading.

To-do Lists

Alan Henry‘s Lifehacker post Make a 1-3-5 List for a Faster, Instantly-Prioritized To-Do List advocates having a daily to-do list of one big thing to get done that day, three medium-priority tasks you’d like to do, and five items it would be nice to do.


John Mello’s recent post in ComputerWorld  Review: 3 Note-Taking Gadgets Keep You Scribbling discusses that some studies show handwriting notes improve recall over typing them.  It then reviews Boogie Board, Adonit Jotscript Evernote Edition stylus, and the Livescribe 3 pen.


Academic PKM Interview Fun!

Bonnie Stachowiak

Bonni Stachowiak

Crystal and I were interviewed last week by Bonni Stachowiak for her Teaching in Higher Ed blog and podcast.  We all had a lot of fun together, and we hope that you might get some ideas about PKM and how it applies to higher education by listening to it.  It is about thirty minutes long.  And please do spend time looking at Bonni’s blog – she does excellent work!


Evernote Casserole

Casserole Dish Sometimes in cooking one throws together a casserole dish from whatever is in the refrigerator.  So, now, I have thrown together a review of a number of smaller e-books I’ve gathered on Evernote when the cost was from free to $2.99 or so.  Some of them have been useful, some less so.  As usual with most collections of written material, almost all of them have some feature(s) that makes them valuable and some that aren’t so helpful.

Of course, there are reasons why ebooks are not the best choice for any software, especially ones that have versions for so many browsers, operating systems, and mobile apps.  Evernote in particular changes constantly, and not in an even pattern across versions.  A great new feature may appear first in the iPhone app, then cross over into the others.  So, since books are not updated often, it would seem a book is not a good choice for discussing software.  On the other hand, Evernote has a metric ton of features, and thus a book can be needed to give a more complete picture.

I have tried, therefore, to mention books that are recent (within the last couple of years, for the most part).  Given these considerations, here are the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Warning:  A lot of these are self-published, and the bibliographic information can be sketchy.

The Good

Evernote:  Wow!  I Didn’t Know It Could Do That. Author: G. Scaysbrook,  July, 2014, sold by Amazon Digital Services, and listed by them as 175 pages, but seems much shorter (Kindle books don’t show page numbers as such, but rather the percentage of the book read).

It offers a good selection of tips, decent writing, and easy-to-read graphics (I use the Kindle app on my Nook HD, which includes color, so not sure how well the screenshots on any of these books look on a black and white or paperwhite device).  Example tips that were well done including emailing notes to your Evernote account, including the syntax for doing so.  Also well done were searching notes and the extensive syntax Evernote has for searching.

I will highlight new tips and features; since I consider myself advanced in literacy about Evernote, I am assuming that things I don’t know are things the average user won’t know either.  So in this case, things I didn’t know included how to unmerge notes and how to create shortcuts to your computer’s folders and files.

Evernote for Windows: The Most Comprehensive Guidebook, by M. Yilmaz.  July 2013, 122 pages.

Table of Contents clearly labels which topics are about actions to take, with the rest being discussions, and features are ranked as basic, intermediate, or advanced level.  It is already out-of-date since it lacks any mention of reminders, for example.

Examples of good discussions include the benefits of synchronized and unsynchronized notebooks; search syntax; why notes are in only one notebook unless copied (similar to folder/file structure in your computer); advanced search syntax such as searching for attribute,  file type,  dates created,  etc.  This book, along with several others, mentions using special characters to place a note or tag at top of the list,  such as !Urgent. Good discussion of customizing the layout to create look that works best for you,  including the favorites toolbar.

Things I didn’t know: can create hierarchy of tags.   To do so,  drag one tag on top of another,  and dragged tag becomes child node. Also that notes deleted are not deleted immediately,  can go into trash and undelete them.

Master Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Evernote (Plus 75 Ideas to Get You Started).  by S.  J.  Scott, July 5, 2014.  Archangel Ink. 127 pages.

The author does a lot of self-published productivity books, and the Evernote Scott YouTube videos.

Does explicitly discuss GTD in the book. Includes a good discussion of adding notebooks and tags for a GTD system in Evernote,  including nested tags.

The 75 Ideas for getting started with Evernote section is variable in quality or application for a specific individual,  but a great idea for person who might be having trouble visualizing how they might use Evernote – and even habitual users might find some good new ideas.

For example,  #7 –  everything you speak to Siri or Google Now can be archived in Evernote.  There is a link to an IFTTT recipe for appending to a reminder note. Ideas #14 through 19 are for college students,  such as saving various documents such as syllabi,  creating notes for useful for specific classes,  creating a digital school filing cabinet  (perhaps a better idea to use it as a digital portfolio for college work).

Things I  didn’t know:  Did know that that in searching quote marks could be used for a phrase,  did not know one can use an asterisk as truncation symbol; besides creating shortcuts to folders and files,  you can,  in Windows,  set up a folder to import into Evernote (everything you add to that folder becomes an item in Evernote); with Skitch, besides doing some  markups of files, one can save the files as PDFs.

Master Getting Things Done the David Allen Way with Evernote.   By Dominic Wolff.   Organized Living Press.  August 2013 edition.   79 pages.

This book is designed to get you up and running with GTD using Evernote in 7 days.   Nicely set out to introduce both,  though not comprehensive on either,  and not meant to be.

The Bad

How to Use Evernote: The Unofficial Manual. by Mark O’Neil.   August 31, 2012, 61 pages.

This is one of the free MakeUseOf ebooks.   The layout is good. Includes very basic information,  but lots of visuals.

Things I hadn’t thought of or know – send favorite tweets to Evernote via IFTTT.  Mentions Evernote Trunk.

Ranked among the bad because the information is so basic, and because it was “published” in 2012 and therefore quite out of date.

Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done.   by D.  E.  Gold.   2011.   69 pages.

Some use in organizing Evernote for accomplishing GTD.  Big idea is to have  master note with links to other notes (every note in Evernote has its own URL) for such things as planning travel,  meeting agendas, next actions,  and client notes.  Not as good as the Wolff book listed above.

65 Ways to Use Evernote to Supercharge Your Life.   By T.  McNally.   35 pages,  Amazon Digital Services.   Jan.  4, 2014.

Items 36-48 on education, most of which are applicable to college study.   Items 49-54 are about research,  also mostly applicable to college.   Most of the rest about personal life (travel, finance, etc), with the last few about Evernote features useful to anyone.  The fact that most of it is focused on personal life and so little on professional life is the only reason it is in the bad category, otherwise it is a nice little book.

The Ugly

Practical Guide to Evernote (Windows)  by Prof.  Jeffery Owens.  Fountainhead Publications,  June 2013.  40 pages.

Poor layout,  poor visuals.   Not a great deal new.

Does have interesting bit on sorting notes in chapter 7.  Usually reverse chronological order, but can order them by almost any attribute.  Includes an extensive and categorized list of keyboard shortcuts. Also how to use the Wine environment to install Evernote on Ubuntu (various consumer versions of Unix such as Linux and Ubuntu are the last operating systems on which Evernote does not work), and how to add a player to open audio files directly in Evernote.

Evernote Essentials Guide Boxed Set – includes Evernote: What You Should Learn or Know About Evernote by David Blaine,  and Evenote: How to Master Evernote in 1 Hour and Getting Things Done Without Forgetting by Jason Scotts.   Date for boxed set is June 2014, doesn’t mean the books are, and there are no dates on each book.  Both mention reminders,  so they must be fairly recent.  Moreover, the title may be meant to confuse this book with Brett Kelly’s often mentioned Evernote Essentials, written by a man who worked for a time for Evernote and knows it inside out (no, I haven’t read it, so it is not reviewed here – the copy I had was corrupted).

Blaine –  Bad organization,  mostly useless details few if any screenshots,  no bibliographic information (several of the books reviewed suffer from this).   Suddenly starts talking about a mind mapping software near the end without a segue.

Scotts –  p.  29 to 62.  Very basic intro to both Evernote and GTD, not particularly valuable or well laid out.

The Rest

I have also read two well-done, professionally published and book length books on Evernote, Evernote for Dummies (there is a 2014 edition which I don’t have) by David Sarna and My Evernote by Katherine Murray.  I recommend both of them, but the twin problems with them are price and currency.  The Murray book is excellently organized and laid out, and is a great book for beginners, while the Sarna book is also well done and includes more advanced features than Murray does.

Has this been a comprehensive review of all books published on Evernote?  No.  These are books that I have run across, acquired, and spent the time to look at.  Hopefully, though, they will give you an idea of how popular books on Evernote are, and a helpful guide to some that might be affordable AND useful.

 Works Mentioned

Again, the bibliographic information on these books is sketchy, so a professional quality citation is difficult.  I have tried to form something that vaguely resembles APA style.  ;-).

Blaine, D. and Scotts, J.  Evernote Essentials Guide (Boxed Set). Tech Tron, June 13, 2014, 68 pages.

Gold, D. E.  The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, 2nd Edition. Publisher: Daniel E. Gold, 2011, 73 pages.

Mcnally, T. Evernote (65 Ways to Use Evernote to Supercharge Your Life).  Amazon Digital Services, January 4, 2014, 35 pages.

Murray, Katherine.  My Evernote.  Que Publishing, Febuary 27, 2012, 256 pages.

O’Neill, Mark. How to Use Evernote: The Unofficial Manual.  Make Use Of, August 31, 2012.

Owens, Jeffrey.  Practical Guide to Evernote (Windows).  Fountainhead Publications, June 8, 2013, 40 pages.

Sarna, D. E. Y. and Richie, V.  Evernote for Dummies. For Dummies, March 16, 2012, 384 pages.

Scaysbrook, G.  Evernote: Wow!  I Didn’t Know It Could Do That. No publisher, sold by Amazon Digital Services. Page numbers unknown.  Published July 16, 2014.

Scott, S. J. Master Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Evernote.  Archangel Ink, July 5, 2014.

Wolff, D. Master Getting Things Done the David Allen Way with Evernote.  Organized Living Press, August, 2013.

Yilmaz, M.  Evernote for Windows: The Most Comprehensive Guidebook.  Publisher: Murat Yilmaz.  July 17, 2013.


Productivity by the Numbers

As summer reaches to the end of July, thoughts begin to turn toward a new fall semester of classes, activities and students for many of us. Now is a great time to spend a few moments and take a look at some other ideas for productivity.  Let’s consider productivity by the numbers…

Only 2 Rules: How to Manage Your Projects with Personal Kaban:

3 reasons why blogging helps research productivity:

4 Ways You’re Lying to Yourself About Being Productive:

5 Things You can learn about Productivity from Olympic Athletes:

6 Amazing Social Media Productivity Tools:

7 things Star Wars Taught Me about Productivity:

8 Ways the Librarian of the Future will keep Themselves Busy

9 Ways to Use Evernote To Increase Productivity:

10 of the most controversial productivity tips that actually work:


Links Roundup #21

A PhotographerBlog of Interest

Teaching in Higher Ed is a blog on PKM, educational technology, and curation as applied to higher education.  The author is Bonni Stachowiak, who teaches courses in business, marketing, leadership, and human resources at Vanguard University.  Check out, for example, her post Personal Knowledge Management Online Modules and Articles – she teaches PKM as part of classes for doctoral students.


Citation/Reference Management

Catherine Pope, in her Digital Researcher blog, has some clear and concise posts on using various tools for academic research.  She has started a series on using Zotero, and one of the posts is How to Insert Citations Using Zotero, on how to insert citations into Word.  Finding articles on how to use particular reference managers is easier than finding articles on adding to your word processor, and I expect the directions are similar for Libre Office and for other reference managers.  I am not fond of Zotero myself, as I and others in my library have found the plug in slows down our computers by a major factor.  Have installed and uninstalled it twice for this reason; however, I know that it is popular with many users.

Decision Matrix

Thorin Klosowski of LifeHacker explains the Important/Urgent decision matrix more clearly than I have seen it explained before.  The difference is that urgent tasks require immediate action, while important tasks are ones that serve long term goals.

Ebooks for Free on Apps and Tools

MakeUseOf, a site I’d like to explore more in my copious spare time, offers free ebooks on computer-related topics, mostly of the how-to-use variety.  It includes guides to most computer operating systems, tablets and smartphones, but also tools we’ve mentioned such as Scrivener, Evernote, IFTTT, Markdown, PHP, tumblr, Feedly, and many more.  I don’t know their quality or currency, but it was recommended on the Scout Report’s best of the year list.  They also have a Top List section, which has the best software for various platforms.  Included is a section for the best Android productivity apps,  and the best iPhone productivity apps.

Evernote/OneNote/Notebook Apps

Whiteboards, Webmeetings, Evernote, and Skitch is one of Jamie Todd Rubin‘s Going Paperless columns.  It shows how he captures screens and whiteboards in meetings and marks them up with Evernote’s Skitch to keep them and be able to search them.

Springpad is a notebook software that is shutting down at the end of June.  Springpad users have created a Google Drive spreadsheet with alternatives, including descriptions and features.

Jamie Todd Rubin‘s post 10 Ways I Used Evernote to Plan and Track Our Kitchen Remodel (part of his Going Paperless series), has, on the surface, nothing to do with academic work.  However, it is an excellent example of the power of notebook software to organize projects, making it well worth a quick perusal .

Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog has a brief but useful post Voice Recognition with Evernote.


IFTTT has introduced an email digest channel.  “The Email Digest Channel is a native IFTTT Channel that collects content and sends you an email digest on a daily or weekly schedule.”  There are plenty of example recipes to get you started.

Microsoft Office

AskBobRankin pointed to two useful sites:  WordTips (Ribbon Interface) and Excel Tips (Ribbon Interface).  Both offer loads of tips for using those programs, are searchable, have tips by category, and offer a weekly newsletter to which one can subscribe.  There is also a similar site for Microsoft Windows tips.


Lifehacker‘s post Set a Procrastination Free Block to Get Important Tasks Done discusses the concept of adding a time to your calendar that is procrastination free.  Start off small and build up to create a habit.


Chris Bailey took a year after graduating college to intensively study productivity, and his article discusses 10 Lessons I Learned from A Year of Productivity Experiments.  I like particularly his discussion that productivity results from how well you manage your time, attention, and energy.

A Chrome extension called Dayboard takes an interesting approach to keeping you focused on tasks:  every day you choose five or so goals that are most important to accomplish that day, and in every new tab you open those items are at the top.  Should cut down on distractions!

A blog called Barking up the Wrong Tree, by Eric Barker, lists 6 Things the Most Productive People Do Every Day, taken from an interview with Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-hour Workweek.  While I don’t find much new in the list of 6, it is a nice summary of some very useful productivity tips.  In looking at Barker’s blog, I found another useful post – How to Motivate Yourself: 3 Steps Backed by Science.  He’s right – the hardest part of a task is getting started!

Research Management Tools

Readcube has always been an interesting product, as it adds value to reading a research paper.  For instance, it makes references live links when it can.  Also offers annotation and other features for scholars.  Now they are adding more functionality, according to Readcube Adds More Features to Its Popular Research Management Platform.  It includes SmartCite, for easy citation of papers in a Readcube library, integration with institutional proxies, searching literature within the program, and more.


Waqas Ahmad on Addictive Tips has an article Blogtrottr Turns RSS Feeds into Email News Letters & Lets You Filter Stories – the title pretty much says it all.  Blogtrottr lets you get email digests of your RSS feeds.

Statistical/Data Analysis

Data is increasingly being used and produced in all academic disciplines, including the sciences, social sciences, AND humanities.  So many academics are learning to use R, an open source and powerful statistical analysis software.  Andrea Zellner in a recent Gradhacker post Learning R has useful tips and tools for getting started.

Team Communication

An announcement by IFTTT that they now have a channel for Slack introduced me to that product which looks like it could serve as an intranet.  It has a freemium model, and looks like the free version could be very useful for educators.  “Slack brings all your communication together in one place. It’s real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams.”  It is organized around a good search engine, so you can find any communication, document, etc.  It also integrates with a lot of external services, though the free version limits you to five external integrations.  Among the services are Dropbox, GitHub, Google Drive, Google+ Hangouts, IFTTT, MailChimp, RSS feeds, Trello, Twitter, and Zapier.  The big one I see missing is Evernote.  Please add a comment if you have used it.

Time Management

Francis Wade of 2Time Labs has a library of academic papers relating to time management. The library is arranged with images of the first pages in the format of a slide show.  He and his group do a good job of providing information on time management.  I read his book Bill’s Im-perfect Tiime Management Adventure (and wish that all organizations were run by the principles it discusses) and am looking forward to his next book.

Top 100 Tools for Learning

Voting is now open for the 2014 list, which will be announced September 29th.  This will be the 8th annual survey.  While you are votiing, check out the 2013 list.


Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers on academic workflow.  Her article Using Twitter for Research has some wonderful tips for finding Twitter streams for specific academic disciplines as well as other useful tips.

Writing Productively

Kelly Hanson‘s GradHacker post Scheduling Summer Writing integrates a number of academic productivity techniques and tools including setting realistic goals, using calendars and to-do lists for writing goals, and using techniques such as Pomodoro to get writing done.


Discipline-Specific Tools: Digital Humanities 3: History

building with poolThis is the third and last, at least for now, post in my series of tools for the digital humanities (DH).  I continue to have the two problems I mentioned in my last post, of there being too many good resources to cover (which, admittedly, can be a good problem to have), and of the fact that DH tools don’t readily fit into one specific discipline.  I’ve divided the last two posts into literature and history, but the tools for one often work for the other as well.  Historians often analyze texts, as do those in literature; literature professors and students are creating maps and timelines as are historians.  So the divisions I’ve created are to a degree arbitrary.

In this post I want to cover tools for mapping, creating timelines, and creating exhibitions. First however, I want to mention a great resource that provides tutorials on tools of use to digital humanists, but with a slant towards historians.  It is The Programming Historian, which offers online, open access, peer-reviewed tutorials to help humanists learn digital tools, techniques, and workflows.  Tutorials are in the categories of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), Data Management, Data Manipulation, Mapping and GIS, Omeka Exhibit Building, Python Programming Basics, Topic Modeling, and Web Scraping.

 Mapping/Geospatial Data

Mapping, often drawing on geospatial data, can create rich representations whether for projects by faculty, graduate students, or undergraduates.  Many of the resources for maps/GIS and timelines have come from J. McClurkan’s Digital Liberal Arts Workshop Links and Resources.

One recent mapping resource is Maphub, a prototype for annotating and georeferencing high quality digital maps.  Take a look at the video on the top page to see all the features, but you can, for example, add annotations from Wikipedia, and open views in Google Earth.  Annotations can be enriched by sources that, for example, add tags for geographic references in other languages.

Naturally, one of biggest map resources is Google Maps.  Usually thought of in a personal context, it can be used in the classroom as well.  HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Google Maps provides a nice introduction to navigating the maps, as does How to Use Google Maps – Navigating Google Maps.

Maplib is another product which allows you to make map images zoomable and searchable, and annotate and share the maps.  It also offers the Maplib integrator, which allows you to host maps on your own site.

Some of these products make a mess of the categories mentioned above.  Neatline, for example is a very nice product that fits into all three categories.  It is a collection of tools that act as plugins for Omeka, the exhibition software, that allows one to add both mapping and timelines to an exhibit.  Take a look at the exhibit on the top Neatline page to see how attractively it can package valuable information.

WorldMap is another excellent mapping tool, this one from Harvard: “Build your own mapping portal and publish it to the world or to just a few collaborators. WorldMap is open source software.”  It allows the user such features as uploading large datasets and using them to create layers, creating and editing maps that can link to media content, sharing to large or small groups, exporting data, using online cartographic tools, and publishing privately or publicly.  Click on view map to see examples, such as this Women In the World map.  See also the FAQ and the Profhacker post Using the WorldMap Platform.

VisualEyes is a multifaceted web authoring tool that brings together maps, charts, video, timelines, and data into compelling educational resources.  It was developed at the Virginia Center for Digital History, and unsurprisingly tends to be heavy on resources about Thomas Jefferson, to the extent that the narrator of the project on the top page says that the project one year took a break from all things Jefferson.


Up until the digital age, timelines were labors of love, time consuming, if one will forgive the pun.  These days tools make it possible for anyone who can do basic html to create visually handsome timelines. Simile Widgets is open source software that arose from the Simile Project at MIT, and houses widgets primarily for data visualization.  One of those widgets is Timeline, which creates interactive timelines.  Brian Croxall, a digital humanities professor at Emory, created an excellent tutorial, Build Your Own Interactive Timeline.  It uses the timeline and exhibit widgets from Simile, and Google spreadsheets to create the timelines.

Timeline JS is another project that can be created from a Google Spreadsheet or the more complex JSON software.  It can bring in media from a variety of social media including Twitter, Flickr, Google Maps, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Wikipedia, and more.  Amy Cavender in a Profhacker post on the software points to good features such as its easy inclusion of BC dates and that it resizes properly in responsive web designs.

Another winner in the cross-category stakes is TimeMapper,  which combines timelines and mapping (Doh!).  It is open source,  and came from an Open Knowledge Foundation project.   It is built on other open source software such as Timeline JS, and,  like several of the other programs mentioned in this post,  uses a Google spreadsheet to power the resulting display (see Croxall’s tutorial on Simile as an example).

Mapstory, like TimeMapper,  also includes both timelines and mapping,  but looks quite different.  Basically it is an animated map built on data, so you see the map change as the time and data change.  It is nice, but hard to design well…sometimes the data are slow to move, creating a map that is about as exciting as watching paint dry.  For a good example, see the mapstory of Olympic gold medal wins (note that it keeps running on a loop once you click play until you click stop play):



For the most part, only one software is mentioned by academics for creating exhibitions, and it is Omeka.  It is beloved by all kinds of archivists, but it is easy enough to use that it has become a teaching tool – for example, a final assignment in an undergraduate course might be to create an Omeka exhibit.  Omeka is open source software from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.  Profhacker has discussed Omeka in more than one post.  For example, see a post introducing it and a followup on using it in the classroom.  For an idea of what it can do, take a look at the introductory video:


For more examples of what Omeka can do, see the showcase page.


For a field that only hit the tipping point a few years ago, the Digital Humanities is now producing a wonderful set of (mostly open source) tools that allow the creation of an even richer set of content, packaged attractively to draw in the reader.  There is now so much material on  DH that even in three posts I can only cover some of best resources and tools that I have found (see the first post for general resources), and only a couple of subdisciplines, literature and history, rather than the full range of humanities.  I find that I am envious of students who are exposed to such a wonderful array of tools they can use in assignments, and faculty who have new ways to add value to the academic corpus.

Works Cited

Cavender, A. (2013).  Easy Timelines with Timelines JS. Profhacker, retrieved June 29, 2014.

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