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Literature and the Digital Humanities

Free DH Tools

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The tools listed below are some of the best, free, open source tools available for anyone interested in creating a project. The tools are listed in alphabetical order by their function. At the bottom of the list are two repositories that contain a host of Digital Humanities tools. Some of the tools are free, some have a paid version in addition to the free and some are fee-based. There are many tools out there that you can explore with a free trial but those listed here are free to use.

Annotation and Notetaking Tools
A.nnotate is an "online annotation, collaboration, and indexing system for documents and images, supporting PDF and MS Office formats...lets you easily give, collect and store detailed notes on documents and web pages" (Free, web-based)


Annotation Studio
A suite of collaborative web-based annotation tools currently under development at MIT. Annotation Studio is an open source web application that engages students in close reading and textual interpretation. It integrates a powerful set of tools with an interface that makes using those tools intuitive for undergraduates. Building on students’ new media literacies, Annotation Studio develops traditional humanistic skills including close reading, persuasive writing, and critical thinking.
Online assignment using Annotation Studio


With Evernote, you can jot down ideas, notes, projects, to-do-lists, anything that pops into your head that you would like to get back to any time through your computer or any mobile device. It is the best notetaking app out there.
Evernote User Guide

Google Drive
Store, share, and collaborate on files and folders from any mobile device, tablet, or computer
Wellesley College Annotation Project using Google Drive

Audio Tools

Audacity is a free open source, cross-platform audio software
SoundCite, where stories come to life with embedded audio.
Overview and Examples

Audiotool is a free, web-based application for electronic music production; meant to serve as a fully functioning virtual studio. Users drop and drag synthesizers, drum machines, sequencers, filters, samples, and note sequences into the workspace from a toolbar)
Audiotool tutorials

Blogging Tools

Blogger is Google's free tool for creating blogs.

​Tumblr is a microblogging and social network site that lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be.” It is a cross between a social networking site (like Facebook and Twitter) and a blog. It is often described as ‘microblog’ as people usually post short snippets of text and quick snaps as opposed to longer diary style entries found in more traditional blogs.
Sample Tumblr Projects

Wix allows you to create high quality HTML websites and mobile websites through online drag and drop tools. You can also use it for blogs.
Wix Blog template

Word Press
on, you can rapidly create an entirely free blog, with a reasonable amount of customization.
WordPress Tutorials
WordPress Themes

Exhibit Tools

Omeka is a free open source web publishing platform for sharing digital collections and creating rich online exhibits.
Teaching with Omeka (contains tips and project ideas).

Padlet allows you to make beautiful display boards, web pages and presentations. It is essentially a virtual bulletin board in which collaborators can simultaneously create and organize posts of any content type, whether it be text, documents, images, videos, links, etc. Padlet is intuitive and easy to use.
Uses and Projects

Pinterest is a visual discover engine for ideas. Pins are ideas that people on Pinterest create or find and save. You can create boards and invite others to collaborate. It's a good tool for online exhibits.
Using Pinterest in the Classroom

Graphs and Charts Tools

Google Charts
Google chart tools are powerful, simple to use, and free. They have a rich gallery of interactive charts and data tools.

Google Drawings
"Google Drawings are the perfect, replicable graphic organizer tool. You can create Venn diagrams to compare and contrast books (e.g. The Lorax vs. The Wump World, two perfect Earth Day companions) or nonfiction ideas (e.g. Democrat vs. Republican, two possibly-flawed election year companions).In addition, Google Drawings are excellent ways to make infographics (e.g. a timeline of events from a novel or history, any cycle or system in Science or Social Studies), or literature tie-ins. Some of my favorites include making a movie poster (for a book) or making a meme or (political) cartoon about a Social Studies concept. Annotated models can help ensure that students demonstrate their deep understanding, instead of simply picking out surface concepts.If needed, students can annotate their own visuals to show their depth of thinking (e.g. create a picture or caricature of a character, and include 3 quotes about that character that is depicted in that image)." - Kelly Walsh

Use PiktoChart to create Infographics, presentations, and flyers
PiktoChart Ideas

Mapping Tools

Google Earth
Google Earth 
 maps the Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS data onto a 3D globe, allowing users to see cities and landscapes from various angles.
Google Earth Projects

StoryMap JS, a free tool from the KnightLab at Northwestern University, helps you tell stories on the web that highlight the locations of a series of events.
User Guide
StoryMap JS Projects

Time Mapper
Time Mapper lets you create elegant and embeddable time maps quickly and easily from a spreadsheet. View tutorial.
Time Mapper Project
Technology Meets Literature as Students Map a Classic Novel

Lingusitic Analysis Tools

Linguistic Analysis Tools from University of Rochester
The site provides a list of tools, descriptions and links to tool websites. Includes language documentation tools, phonetic analysis and annotation tools, modeling tools, text mining and analysis, and text visualization.

Animation and Comics Tools

Blender is a free, cross-platform open source 3D creation suite.
Blender Projects

MakeBeliefsComix is a comic strip creator that's easy to use. Users can choose from 25 characters to fill a two, three, or four-paneled comic strip. The preset options are limiting but you can create a strip in a few minutes.

Open Toonz
This is an animation production open source software that makes it easy to create 2D animations for free.
Open Toonz Guide

Pixton is a cartoon creation tool that allows users to create awesome comics. Pixton offers free individual accounts but Pixton.EDU is fee-based. Good for graphic novel projects.

Multimedia Tools

Canva is a tool that anyone can use to create a variety of engaging content that gets shared. You can create custom images for blog posts, posters, logos, social media sites, and more. Best of all, it is free although a paid version offers more features.
Creative Uses of Canva

DH Press from UNC Chapel Hill provides a tool that requires no prior technical programming or knowledge. It can be used for a wide range of projects such as creating repositories, exhibits, maps, and multimedia.
DH Press Literary Project (A class project of American Studies Course - Women and Detective Fiction)

HistoryPin is a place for people to share their photos and stories and tell the histories of their local communities.
HistoryPin Guide
HistoryPin Projects

Juxtapose JS is a tool that tells a narrative in two snapshots. You can compare two images taken over a span of of time (like a before/after comparison).
Sample Projects

Prospect is a data visualization tool from UNC that can be used to create a range of digitization projects such as virtual walking tours, interactive exhibits, including historical maps, images, to classroom teaching tools and community repositories. It's used as a plug-in for Word Press.
Sample Projects

Qmedia is a new tool developed at the University of Virginia that provides new ways to use video for instructional and scholarly purposes. Watch 2-minute video

StoryMap JS, a free tool that helps you tell stories on the web that highlight the locations of a series of events.
User Guide
StoryMap JS Projects

"VisualEyes is web-based authoring tool developed at the University of Virginia to weave images, maps, charts, video and data into highly interactive and compelling dynamic visualizations."
VisualEyes in the Classroom

Presentation Tools

Google Slides
Allows you to create, edit, and collaborate on presentations. 
"Google Slides are a useful way to accumulate information to create a study guide or end-of-unit project. For example, if students are using Google Drawings to make memes or cartoons about Social Studies concepts, by the end of a unit, they could have several. Similarly, instead of movie posters, students could make chapter posters, and then their culminating project would be their Google Slides, which would demonstrate their understanding of the book. Google Slides is also a spectacular collaboration tool– students can each be assigned a character, historical figure, or political party to focus on and each can take up a slide or two in a group project.
User Documentation
Google Slide Projects

​Visme is a free tool that allows you to create engaging presentations, professional infographics, and stunning visuals. Offer weekly webinars on using Visme.
Presentation Topics on Various Subjects from the Visme blog

Quizzes and Surveys

Google Forms
"Google Forms is primarily a quiz or test-generating tool, but it can also support reading in diverse ways. For one, you can provide chapter-ending quizzes, which will highlight important themes, characters/people, and events for students. This creates goal-directed readers, which is particularly useful for nonfiction reading...A nonfiction example would have students make note of headings/subheadings, pictures & captions, other graphics, and the opening and closing paragraph."
Google Forms Help

Survey Monkey
Survey Monkey Help Center
How-to Guides
Survey Templates

Reference Management Software


Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research.

A free and open-source reference management software to manage bibliographic data and related research materials.
Refer to the Library's Zotero guide.

Screencasting Tools

Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder
This free screencast tool lets you capture anything on your computer screen without download requirements. You can also add annotations like shapes, texts, and number to the video, and export or share directly online to Google Drive, YouTube or Vimeo.
User Guide

Screencastify is the #1 free screen recorder for Chrome. No download required. Record, edit and share videos in seconds.
User Guide
Classroom Activities

This screencast and hosting services allows you to capture your screen and share your content with your audience.
User Guide
Examples for Classroom Use

This tool allows you to capture your screen and has a powerful editor. Easy to use.

Social Media Analysis Tools

Netlytic is a social media analysis tool for researchers and educators to study public discourse on social media sites. It can analyze contents of tweets, YouTube, RSS feeds, etc,. to discover popular topics and themes of discussions.

Umigon is a powerful tool that can do a sentiment analysis of tweets.
An interesting article on Twitter as a literary landscape. Umigon will be a valuable tool to analyze literary tweets and delve deeper into this literary genre.
Article about Umigon

Text Analysis and Data Mining Tools

Computer Aided Textual Markup and Analysis (CATMA)
A tool for literary scholars, students and anyone interested in text analysis and literary research.
CATMA tutorial 
CAMTA Workshops Topics
CAMTA Project List

Concordle is a free web-based word cloud and concordance tool. The concordance function is a valuable tool, allowing users to paste text into a box and generate either a concordance or list of words in order of frequency. The system allows you to establish as many stop words as you need as well. The setup time is minimal, and you can easily upload text into the box. The system is license-free and runs in your browser.

Google Talk to Books is Google's new search engine which allows you to ask questions and get responses by searching the entire Google Books database by using AI technology.

JSTOR Data For Research
Data for Research is a free data mining tool for journal content on JSTOR, available to the public. DfR provides the ability to obtain data sets via bulk downloads, and includes a powerful faceted search interface, online viewing of document-level data, downloadable datasets (including word frequencies, citations, key terms, and ngrams).

Monk Project (Metadata Offer New Knowledge)
Monk is a digital environment that helps humanities scholars discover and analyze patterns in the texts they study.

PythonPython is a programming language which is good for literary analysis of works. It can look at elements such as word frequencies and co-occurrences for topic modeling and clustering. See example here.

This collection of text analysis tools hosted by the University of Alberta provides XML, HTML, and plain text analysis. Upload documents to extract common words, determine co-locates, separate HTML tags, and extract XML tagged information.

This is a free, easy-to-use web text analysis tool which allows users to upload or paste text. The tool determines word frequencies, and collocates and displays them graphically.
An example of how Voyant was used to analyze works of Arthur Conan Doyle

Timeline Tools

Neatline "allows scholars, students, and curators to tell stories with maps, images and timelines. As a suite of add-on tools for Omeka, it opens new possibilities for hand-crafted, interactive spatial and temporal interpretation."
Neatline Projects

TimeLine JS from the KnightLab at Northwestern University shows a flow of events over time. It is an “open-source tool that enables anyone to build visually rich, interactive timelines. 
User Guide.
TimeLine Projects

Web Sites

Drupal is an open source content management software that you can use to build robust web sites. Many websites are powered by Drupal.
Drupal Tutorial
Drupal Showcase

Wix allows you to create high quality HTML websites and mobile websites through online drag and drop tools. You can also use it for blogs.
Wix tutorial
Wix Literary Project

Word Press
Word Press is an open-source content management system which you can use to create a website, blog or app offering beautiful designs, powerful features, and the freedom to build anything you want. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.
Sample Projects

Word Processing/Project Management Tools

Evernote helps you capture and prioritize ideas, projects, and to-do lists, so nothing falls through the cracks.
Help and Learning
Featured Templates

Google Docs
A powerful word processing tool that students can use to store and share documents and files, annotate and comment. It's a versatile collaborative tool.
How to Use Google Docs in the Classroom

Digital Repositories

DIRT - Digital Research Tools Directory
This is a directory of research tools for scholarly use. Makes it easy for researchers and digital humanists to compare resources ranging from content management systems to music OCR, to statistical analysis packages to mindmapping software.

Digital Toy Chest for Humanities
"Toy Chest collects online or downloadable software tools and thinking toys that humanities students and others without programming skills (but with basic computer and Internet literacy) can use to create interesting projects. Most of the tools gathered here are free or relatively inexpensive (exceptions: items that are expensive but can be used on a free trial basis). Also on this site are "paradigms"--books, essays, digital projects, etc.--that illustrate the kinds of humanities projects that these thinking tool/toys might help create.