Technology for Research and Teaching

The LTO has been running workshops on teaching with technology for the last few years. These workshops have touched on the basics of using web 2.0 and social media tools in the classroom. If you’re interested in taking your use of digital tools to the next level, this post is for you.

A lot has been said recently about the benefits of non-programmers learning at least some basic programming skills. As life becomes increasingly digital, an understanding of the principles of computer science helps when trying to navigate and troubleshoot the multitude of new interfaces and applications that are constantly being thrown at us. Furthermore, even basic programming can help scholars explore new angles for their research, as well as provide new tools to be used in the classroom. With the rise of fields such as Digital Humanities, researchers have increasingly seen the utility of programming and digital tools when working on projects in almost any discipline.

To get some ideas for potential uses for technology in the higher education classroom, check out the articles available on Learning Through Digital Media Experiments in Technology and Pedagogy

To search for tools that can help solve your particular problem or accomplish a specific task, try Bamboo DiRT. This site “is a tool, service, and collection registry of digital research tools for scholarly use. Developed by Project Bamboo, Bamboo DiRT makes it easy for digital humanists and others conducting digital research to find and compare resources ranging from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mindmapping software.”

If you’re unsure where to get started, or what kind of tools that are available freely on the internet, we’ve listed a bunch below.


Richard G Baldwin Programming Tutorials in ActionScript, Flex, Alice, Java, JavaScript, Python, XML, C#, Digital Signal Processing, and Wireless Technology.

10 Web-based Sandbox Tools for Testing Your Code Snippets

Full classes on programming, web design, and computer science are regularly held on sites such as Coursera and Udacity


Hackety Hack Programming Tutorial: Learn Ruby

The Bastards Book of Ruby is an introduction to programming and its practical uses for journalists, researchers, scientists, analysts, and anyone else whose job is to seek out, make sense from, and show the hard-to-find data.

Coding for Journalists: A four-part series

Learn to Program by Chris Pine


The Programming Historian

The Programming Historian 2

Invent with Python: Learn to Program by Making Computer Games

ScraperWiki: web scraping with Python


The Best Way to Learn Javascript

W3schools Javascript Tutorial

Crockford on Javascript


Introduction to Programming in Java, MIT OpenCourseware

Java Basics

Eclipse IDE and Eclipse and Java for Total Beginners

Web and Graphic Design

Mozilla Thimble: Write and edit CSS and HTML directly in your browser

Colr: Play with colors and color schemes

Typetester “is an online application for comparison of the fonts for the screen. Its primary role is to make web designer’s life easier. As the new fonts are bundled into operating systems, the list of the common fonts will be updated.”

Text and Data Analysis

Scripto, a “A free, open source tool enabling community transcriptions of document and multimedia files”

Monk “MONK “is a digital environment designed to help humanities scholars discover and analyze patterns in the texts they study”

Tapor “is a gateway to tools for sophisticated analysis and retrieval, along with representative texts for experimentation.”

Mandala can explore data sets from a variety of file formats, including .xml, .csv, .txt, .rft, and .pdf

Document Cloud gives “you access to extensive information about the people, places and organizations mentioned in each.”

Voyant is “a web-based text analysis environment” that allows users to perform actions such as “lexical analysis, including the study of frequency and distribution data.

Natural Language Processing Group provides open source statistical toolkits for various major computational linguistics problems.

Image Analysis

Iconclass is “a classification system designed for art and iconography. It is the most widely accepted scientific tool for the description and retrieval of subjects represented in images (works of art, book illustrations, reproductions, photographs, etc.) and is used by museums and art institutions around the world.””

ImagePlot is a visualization software that explores patterns in large image collections.

Simulated Environment for Theatre “is a 3D environment for reading, exploring, and directing plays.”

Spatial and Temporal Analysis

Quantam GIS: Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) (equivalent to ArcGIS)

Spatial Humanities: Step by Step is a “peer-reviewed series of tutorials and guides to getting things done in teaching and research with spatial tools and resources.”

VisualEyes is a web-based authoring tool that weaves “images, maps, charts, video and data into highly interactive and compelling dynamic visualizations… VisualEyes enables scholars to present selected primary source materials and research findings while encouraging active inquiry and hands-on learning among general and targeted audiences.”

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

Simile Exhibit “lets you easily create web pages with advanced text search and filtering functionalities, with interactive maps, timelines, and other visualizations.”

Simile Timeline allows for the creation of interactive timelines. 10 Digital Timelines highlights other alternatives.

World Map Warper is for digitally aligning (geo-rectifying) scanned historical maps to match today’s precise maps, as in the NYPL Map Warper

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