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Resources & Support for Digital Scholarship: Tools & Methods

DH skeptics, dabblers, inquirers, novices, experts, and scholars welcome! This site provides broad coverage of technologies, methodologies, resources, and scholarship in the digital humanities.


This page includes curated lists of recommended tools for a broad range of digital methodologies.  The lists provide a brief definition of the method and tool as well as where to find it and links to tutorials.



On a most basic level, digital text annotation is simply adding notes or glosses to a document, for instance, putting sticky-note comments on a PDF file for personal use.  But annotations can also be done on web pages and HTML files and shared among a community of readers, thus recreating the textual communities formed by glossators and other marginal annotators in the manuscript and print worlds.

Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, The Digital Humanities: A Primer for Students and Scholars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 72.

Recommended Tools

Text Annotation


Video Annotation Tool


VideoAnt is a web-based video annotation tool for mobile and desktop devices. Use VideoAnt to add annotations, or comments, to web-hosted videos. VideoAnt-annotated videos are called “Ants”.  You can export your annotations in a variety of data formats and even embed your Ants on a personal website, learning management system, or anywhere HTML is allowed.  VideoAnt is produced by the Digital Education and Innovation team in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.



Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees, colleagues, or suppliers.

Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, The Digital Humanities: A Primer for Students and Scholars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 236.


The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — hundreds of thousands of people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. The goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. Zooniverse research results in new discoveries and datasets useful to the wider research community.  You can use Zooniverse to build your own crowd-sourced project by using the Project Builder.

Data Visualization

Similar to Text Visualization processes, data visualization applications create visual representations of structured data based on lexical, linguistic, geographical, tonal, temporal and a wide variety of other parameters.

Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, The Digital Humanities: A Primer for Students and Scholars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 76-78.

Recommended Tools


If you have Microsoft Office products installed on your computer, then you already have a data visualization and analysis tool at your fingertips.  Excel can be used to express your data in charts, tables, dashboards, and more.  Excel functionality can also be extended through the use of free Add-Ins.  These can be found in the Microsoft AppSource.  Here are a few Add-Ins to consider: Radial Bar Chart, Bubbles, GIGRAPH, Power Map, and People Graph.  You can also directly add these and any other Add-Ins when you are in Excel.  Go to the Insert tab and within the Add-Ins section of the navigation ribbon click on Store.

Learn more


Tableau Desktop Public is the free version of the Tableau product suite that allows you to create interactive charts, graphs, maps, and live dashboards.  You get 10GB of space, and your visualizations can be shared via social media or embedded in a website or blog.  Data sources include: Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel 2007 or later, Text files - comma separated value (.csv) files, JSON files, Statistical Files; SAS (*.sas7bdat), SPSS (*.sav), and R (*.rdata, *.rda), Spatial Files (ESRI shape files, KML, and MapInfo), Web Data Connectors, and ODat. 

If you are a student, faculty member, or staff of the University of Kentucky, you have access to a free 14-day trial of Tableau Desktop premium version.  This is available through Institutional Research and Advanced Analytics.  Discover more information about Tableau Server and Super Users at the University of Kentucky.  Furthermore, if you are a faculty member teaching a course or conducting noncommercial academic research you can request a free year-long license to the Academic suite which includes Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep, and Tableau Online.  For more information refer to Tableau for Teaching FAQs and to request a license visit Tableau for Teaching.  Students are eligible for a free one-year license to activate Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep.  To request a student license visit Tableau for Students.

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Tell the story of your data.  Flourish.Studio can be used to animate visualizations and provide explanation.  

Note! Free Package includes: Core templates (maps, charts, etc); Unlimited public views; Embed projects on your site; Create stories and presentations; Save images for offline use; Mobile and tablet friendly



Palladio was developed by Humanities + Design, a research lab at Stanford University, through a NEH Implementation Grant (July 2013-June 2016).  Their goal was to understand design for graphical interfaces based on humanistic inquiry.  Your tabular data can be visualized in a map view, graph view, list view, and gallery view.  Upload your tabular data to the Palladio interface and refine it, visualize it, and save it on your computer as a Palladio Project.  The saved Palladio Project will be a .json file and includes the schema and structure required to visualize your data in Palladio the next time you visit. For more information about Humanities + Design's tool developments check out Open Source Tools for Research.

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R is a programming language and open source software environment for statistical computing and graphics.  Supported by the R Foundation, R provides a variety of statistical and graphical techniques.  R can be extended easily through packages and through the CRAN family of internet sites.  R excels in providing publication-quality plots including mathematical symbols and formulae.  

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D3.js (Data-Driven Documents) is a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. D3 helps you bring data to life using HTML, SVG, and CSS. D3’s emphasis on web standards gives you the full capabilities of modern browsers without tying yourself to a proprietary framework, combining powerful visualization components and a data-driven approach to Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation.  See the wide range of visualizations in the D3 Gallery.  D3 requires some familiarity with JavaScript and may present a steep learning curve for some.

Learn more

Digital Mapping

Digital mapping is creating graphic representations of information using spatial relationships within the graphic to represent some relationships within the data.

Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, The Digital Humanities: A Primer for Students and Scholars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 243.

ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Desktop, and ArcGIS Story Maps





Google My Maps

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is the latest iteration of a narrative tradition. It involves creating and sharing stories using digital tools, incorporating multimedia elements such as image, sound, and words in a narrative that is then disseminated via a web platform. Bryan Alexander offers the most concise definition: "Simply put, it is telling stories with digital technologies. Digital stories are narratives built from the stuff of cyberculture."


  • Youth and community engagement:
    • Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver partnered with community group Project VOYCE to facilitate youth engagement through digital storytelling. The high school students who participated created videos that reflect on their personal experience.  In one example, "Wonderland," a student shares her perspective on gentrification and community action.
  • Research and the library:
    • In this video, Doug Boyd, Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries, shares a story of research and discovery.  It combines narrated video, audio from a 1986 interview, contemporary and historical photographs, and archival video footage from World War II. The story of one researcher’s serendipitous discovery builds into a message about the role of the library.

"Keeping Up With… Digital Storytelling", American Library Association, February 14, 2018.  Written by Sara S. Goek, Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Program Manager at the Association of College & Research Libraries.

Note: To create a digital story it may require a combination of multiple tools.  Students, if you need assistance with gaining access to and using digital media tools the Student Media Depot @ The Hub located in the Hub at William T. Young Library may be able to help.  The Media Depot provides; access to recording equipment and space, editing stations with specialized multimedia software, and technical support for students’ development of their academic media projects.  If you are faculty, visit the Faculty Media Depot located in King Science Library which provides media and technology support in the creation of courses.  Their drop-in services include LMS training, video studio recordings, audio and screen recordings, as well as support with the utilization of media in courses.

Recommended Tools

Mapping Tool


StoryMapJS is a free, stable tool to help you tell stories on the web that highlight the locations of a series of events.  Northwestern University's Knight Lab created and hosts StoryMapJS in their development environment.  StoryMap JS can pull in media from a variety of sources. Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Dailymotion, Google Maps, Wikipedia, SoundCloud, Document Cloud and more.

Timeline Tool


TimelineJS is an open-source tool that enables anyone to build visually rich, interactive timelines. Beginners can create a timeline using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet.  Experts can use their JSON skills to create custom installations, while keeping TimelineJS's core functionality.  Created by Northwestern University's Knight Lab.

Photo Tool


JuxtaposeJS is a free tool that helps storytellers compare two pieces of similar media, including photos, and GIFs. It’s ideal for highlighting then/now stories that explain slow changes over time (growth of a city skyline, regrowth of a forest, etc.) or before/after stories that show the impact of single dramatic events (natural disasters, protests, wars, etc.).  Created by Northwestern University's Knight Lab.

Audio Tool


SoundciteJS is a free tool that can add emotion or context to a story by embedding inline audio to your story. The audio is not isolated; it plays right under the text you choose. Created by Northwestern University's Knight Lab.

  • Examples
  • Help
  • Screencast: Soundcite (This video will walk you through the basics of creating a Soundcite clip. Note that the visual style of the Soundcite page has changed since this video was made, but the basic steps have not.)


Adobe Audition

Adobe Audition is a toolset that includes multitrack, waveform, and spectral display for creating, mixing, editing, and restoring audio content. 

If you are a student, faculty member, or staff of the University of Kentucky, you can download Adobe Audition for free.  Go to UK Software Downloads and login with your linkblue credentials.


Anchor is a free tool you can use to create podcasts.  Anchor boasts unlimited storage, 100% free, and connection to several sharing and distributing tools.



Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software.  It is a multi-track audio editor and recorder.

Multimedia Tool


Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is a suite of Storytelling applications including Spark Page (web page builder), Spark Post (social media graphic builder), and Spark Video (video making software).

If you are a student, faculty member, or staff of the University of Kentucky, you can download Adobe Spark for free.  Go to UK Software Downloads and login with your linkblue credentials.


While more of a tool for creating data visualization, Flourish.Studio can also be used to animate visualizations and provide explanation.  This is a tool that could be used to tell the story of your data.

Note! Free Package includes: Core templates (maps, charts, etc); Unlimited public views; Embed projects on your site; Create stories and presentations; Save images for offline use; Mobile and tablet friendly


Story Spheres


Add audio to 360-degree photos to create an interactive experience. Lead your audience to the next video to create a multimedia story.



Video Tool


Flipgrid is a video discussion platform and reflection tool.  You can post topics and questions and invite replies.  You can also record, upload, view, react, and respond to each other's short videos.  Flipgrid can be embedded in an LMS or website.  (In 2018, Microsoft acquired Flipgrid, which was designed and created in the College of Education and Human Development by Associate Professor Charles Miller and graduate student Brad Hosack. With this acquisition, Flipgrid will be free for schools.)



Tell a story through creating an interactive video.  Wirewax allows you to create clickable areas in a video that perform an action when your audience clicks on them.

Note! Free Package includes: Interactive Video Editor; Automatic Motion Tracking; Face Detection & Clustering; Videos Limited to 10 minutes; Embeddable Videos; Basic Metrics Dashboard; and 500 monthly views. 

Game/Story Tool


Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.  You don't need to write any code to create a simple story with Twine, but you can extend your stories with variables, conditional logic, images, CSS, and JavaScript when you're ready.  Twine publishes directly to HTML, so you can post your work nearly anywhere. Anything you create with it is completely free to use any way you like, including for commercial purposes.

Social Network Analysis

Coming soon!


Text Encoding

Mark-up languages are among the common forms of structured data. The term “mark-up” refers to the use of tags that bracket words or phrases in a document. They are always applied within a hierarchical structure and always embedded within the text stream itself . . . Mark-up remains a standard practice in editing, processing, and publishing texts in electronic forms. The use of HTML tags . . . is a very basic form of mark-up. But where HTML is used to create instructions for browsers to display texts (specifying format, font, size etc.), mark-up languages are designed to call attention to the content of texts. This can involve anything from noting the distinctions among parts of a text such as title, author, stanza, or interpreting mood, atmosphere, place, or any other element of a text. As discussed in lesson 2A, every act of introducing mark-up into a text is an act of interpretation. Mark-up is a way of making explicit intervention in a text so that it can be analyzed, searched, and put into relation with other texts in a repository or corpus. Mark-up is an essential element of digital humanities work since it is the primary way of structuring texts as they are transcribed, digitized, or born digital . . . TEI, the Text Encoding Initiative, is the prevailing standard mark-up scheme for text and should be used if you are working." with literary texts.

Johanna Drucker, Text Encoding: Mark-up and TEI​ (Introduction to Digital Humanities, 2013),


Text Mining

When text material is incorporated into scholarly research, it often first needs to be converted into information that can be analyzed for patterns.  Developing software to derive this information from text has been a major undertaking of several digital humanities efforts.  These programs extract data from text according to certain parameters and deliver the data in useful file formats.  Often these are also referred to as Data-Mining Tools.

Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, The Digital Humanities: A Primer for Students and Scholars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 73.


HaithiTrust Research Center 



Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer environment that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world or in imagined worlds.

Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, The Digital Humanities: A Primer for Students and Scholars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 250.





Website Platforms

Website platforms exist on servers but are software applications that allow organizations and individuals to create and publish content to the Internet. The platforms listed below are free, web-based applications.

Google Sites




3D Modeling

The process of 3D modeling creates a mathematical representation of a three-dimensional object that can then be processed to be displayed in two-dimensional space.  This processing can include modeling, alteration and animation.

Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, The Digital Humanities: A Primer for Students and Scholars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 78.

3D Printing

This process creates a three-dimensional solid object based on computer-generated models.  3D printing is an additive process, that is, layers of material are added successively to achieve the exact computer-designed pattern in real space.

Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, The Digital Humanities: A Primer for Students and Scholars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 78.





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