Digital History Tools

Below is a selection of tools for students and researchers interested in developing a digital history project. The tools below can all be used and mastered easily by students and scholars with no programming skills. For more comprehensive lists of digital humanities tools and programs I recommend the website of the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative and DiRT, the Digital Research Tools Directory.


Zotero is not a platform for presenting a work of digital history, but it is likely the most useful research tool for doing so that you will ever use. Zotero was developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media as a tool for students and professional historians to collect and organize sources and research. The tool’s aesthetics and interface were modeled after iTunes, making it familiar and very easy to use. Use the browser plug-in as you search library catalogs to sync bibliographic data directly to the stand-alone application, add PDFs of articles or documents for easy reference, and seamlessly create reading lists, bibliographies, and footnotes. If you are collecting and scanning archival documents you can easily create your own digital archive with notes and tags for easy searching.


Omeka is another project of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media that is an easy to use platform for creating and displaying digital archives and exhibits. Omeka allows anyone to create a searchable database of images or documents with beautiful display options and easy plug-ins for podcasts, blogs, and special exhibits. Though Omeka has become a favored platform for many libraries and museums it is easy enough for students and teachers to master quickly. The tool can be found for free download at; for server-based hosting (free with data limits) go to


MediaKron was developed by the Center for Teaching at Boston College for curating digital material. MediaKron’s tools are oriented toward helping you turn your digital content–documents, images, video, and audio–into a coherent narrative using maps and timelines.


Scalar was developed by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture as a publishing platform for born-digital scholarship. Scalar can be used to publish a whole book or course materials and weave other media such as annotations, images, audio, and video into the narrative. Scalar is completely free and open source and “Introduction to Scalar” is offered in free webinars.


FabulaMaps is a privately developed tool for creating interactive maps without any coding. You can add data, text, images, documents, or even audio and video to your maps and their side-panels, and use comparative and sequential maps to create a narrative. You can also embed these maps in other websites (such as Omeka or WordPress).

SoundCloud and Flickr

SoundCloud and Flickr are for applications for audio (SoundCloud) and photo (Flickr) management such as storing, sharing, and organizing. These applications were designed for use by artists such as musicians and photographers but can just as easily be used to create shareable audio and photo or image archives and can be easily incorporated into projects on Omeka or WordPress.