What kind of data should the tool work with?

HEURIST ( is an extremely flexible, end-user oriented, web-based data management system designed specifically for Humanities data. Developed since 2005, it has been in active use across many projects since 2009. It is available both as a free web service for researchers (hosted at the University of Sydney Data Centre) or for installation on a physical or virtual server (Open Source on gitHub).

Researchers can design, create, manage, analyse, visualise and publish their own richly-structured database(s) through a simple web interface, without the need for a programmer(s). Quite complex databases can be built in a few hours by borrowing structures and vocabularies published by other users. Databases can be designed and built incrementally, as existing data are not affected by changes in structure. Databases created by Heurist are stored in MySQL with a repeatable structure facilitating independant access by other software.

Advanced features include record linking, graph structure, drill-down facet searches, rule-based queries, custom reports, linked map-timelines, network visualisation, normalised spreadsheet import, crosstabulation, XML feeds, XSLT transforms. The team provides initial email and skype assistance for project setup at no cost, and special customisations at modest cost.

Code license: Open source, GNU GPL, GNU GPL v3
Last updated: 13 Oct 2017

Topincs is a online database software. Given a data model, it allows

Last updated: 28 Mar 2017

ZeeMaps quickly maps point data on Google base maps in two ways:
1) The user uploads a .csv file of data points and their locations.
2) A group of users all add their own data location points to the map, on their own time from their own devices.

Each point can include text, video, image, or audio annotations.

Basic functionality is free; larger uploads and large numbers of maps require a paid subscription.

Code license: Closed source
Last updated: 7 Jun 2016

Crowdmap allows the investigator to set up a Web map around a particular topic and invite multiple users (participants, research subjects, collaborators, multiple assistants) to contribute information to the map on their own time and from their own device.

For $10/month, users can buy fee-based services including private maps and custom branding.

Code license: GNU LGPL
Last updated: 7 Jun 2016

GapVis is an interface for exploring and reading texts that reference ancient places. It includes maps and data visualizations that show what locations are referred to a different points in the narrative and allows you to dig into the details to learn more.

Code license: Open source
Last updated: 7 Jun 2016

Visualizes a series of events across both time and space. Allows researcher to create of an interactive timeline and map that are linked together. Users of the timeline can press "play" to watch the timeline scroll forward and the map zoom from place to place as they highlight each event (and the researcher's attached images and text) in turn. Users can also pause the progress of history, move forward or back at their own pace, and zoom in or out of either the map or timeline to examine areas of interest.

Compare to: StoryMap JS, MapStory, Odyssey.js

Code license: Closed source
Last updated: 7 Sep 2016

StoryMapJS is a project by KnightLab which aims to help journalists and historians tell stories by using maps using a straight-forward and simple authoring tool. It is constructed around a framework of highlighting the locations of a series of events. As an editing tool, it is relatively intuitive and easy to use.

Code license: Open source, MIT License
Last updated: 7 Jun 2016

CONTENTdm is digital collection management software that allows for the upload, description, management, and access of digital collections. CONTENTdm is mostly used by libraries, archives, museums, government agencies, universities, corporations, historical societies, and other organizations that wish to host a digital collection.

  • Collection storage, management, and delivery to users across the web, in any format (e.g., local history archives, newspapers, books, maps, slide libraries, audio, video)
Code license: Closed source
Last updated: 7 Sep 2015

nodegoat is a web-based data management, analysis & visualisation environment.

Using nodegoat, you can define, create, update, query, and manage any number of datasets by use of a graphic user interface. Your custom data model autoconfigures the backbone of notegoat's core functionalities.

Code license: Closed source
Last updated: 17 Aug 2015

ORBIS is an "interactive scholarly work" that allows a user to determine the cost, time, and distance of various land, sea, and river routes among hundreds of sites in the ancient world, at various times of day and in various seasons. The work can be (and has been) used as a tool to study questions in various fields of study about antiquity, including trade and social interaction.

Code license: Closed source
Last updated: 5 Aug 2015

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.

Code license: Open source
Last updated: 3 Aug 2015

Kartograph is a pair of free and open source libraries for representing data with a spatial component on webpages or in print. The first library,, is a Python library that builds lightweight vector graphic maps from either shapefiles or PostGIS tables. These graphics files can be styled either using a cascading style sheet during creation or later on the second library, Kartograph.js. The vector files can also be edited and enhanced in a vector graphics program like Adobe Illustrator.

Code license: GNU Affero GPL v.3, GNU LGPL
Last updated: 2 Aug 2015

JuxtaposeJS helps tell stories by comparing two image frames, including photos and gifs. It provides a means, by a draggable pane, to see the changes and visually analyse the differences between the two images.
It’s an adaptable storytelling tool that is 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.).

Code license: Open source
Last updated: 8 Jul 2015

Qualrus is an innovative qualitative data analysis tool that helps you manage unstructured data. Additionally, Qualrus learns your coding trends, provides a visual semantic network display, and gives advice and technical support.

Last updated: 22 May 2015

Cross-platform app for analyzing text, video, and spreadsheet data (analyzing qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research)

Last updated: 2 May 2015

The Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is concept mapping software that can integrate with multiple repositories to pull in, organize, and analyze data. Multiple features for advanced management of digital resources for teaching, learning, and research.

Last updated: 29 Dec 2014

Qiqqa is a research management software that allows you to organize large numbers of papers; find new papers to read and new information about papers you already have; review materials and create annotation reports. Qiqqa has several PDF tools that also allow you to convert from PDFs to text, and use a clipboard function to cut and paste text into your document.

Code license: Closed source
Last updated: 29 Dec 2014

Pliny is a scholarly note-taking and annotation tool. It may be used with both digital (web pages, images, PDF files) and non-digital (books, printed articles) materials, run as a desktop application on the user's computer. Pliny is useful for taking and managing annotations and notes while reading, as well as subsequently developing and presenting an interpretation.

Last updated: 29 Dec 2014

Carrot2 is an open source search results clustering engine. It automatically organizes small collections of documents into categories.

Code license: Open source
Last updated: 29 Dec 2014

TouchGraph is a Java application that creates network graphs of websites returned in Google searches.

Code license: Closed source
Last updated: 29 Dec 2014
Subscribe to Contextualizing