Tool Presentation (10/15)

(9% of overall grade)

Introduction and goals

While students will have exposure to several DH tools and methods in class during the semester, there are many additional options for data collection, management, and visualization. In preparing for this presentation, students will gain experience in critically analyzing a DH tool by asking questions about its context, audience, and use cases. By sharing this tool with the class, students will share newly-gained expertise and learn from each other. After these presentations, students will also have a better sense of what options they will have for pursuing the final project.


Each student will present a digital humanities tool to the class. The tool will come from the list below (or at the approval of the instructor).

In a 6 minute presentation, address the following questions:

  • Background and technology:
    • Who made this tool or platform? Who maintains it now? (this could be individual(s), companies, or a combination of the two) 
    • Where in the world is the tool based? 
    • What background can you find about the tool? 
    • How long has it been around? Is it updated regularly?
    • Is it open source? (definition of open source
    • Is it freely available? Does it operate on a freemium pay model? Was it funded by government or foundation grants?
    • Who is its primary audience? (K-12 students and teachers? Journalists? Data scientists? Humanists? Non-profits?)
  • Use cases:
    • What is the tool capable of doing? 
    • What is it most commonly used for?
  • What are its strengths?
  • What are its limitations?

While providing a live demo of the tool may be useful, plan to have backup slides with screenshots in case the technology/connectivity fails on the day of the presentation.

Students are encouraged but not required to use the provided slides template for their presentation. Slides are not graded on their own, but they are a key component to a successful presentation because they help keep presentations to time and provide structure. Students are strongly encouraged to include slides with screenshots of projects instead of clicking out to live project websites. This encouragement is for two reasons: 1) in case the live site crashes or connectivity goes down, the project can still be shown; and, 2) to help keep the presentation to time. For more tips on creating effective slides, see the Tips for Successful Slides page

Tool Options

All tools below are welcome topics for the Tool Presentation assignment. The groupings are meant to provide a bit of additional information for students to understand how the tools might relate to the final project.

Tools around which you can build a final project:

  1. Tableau – (visualization, mapping, etc)
  2. Twine – (gaming)
  3. TAGS –  (twitter collection)
  4. GraphCommons – (networks)
  5. Palladio – (networks, mapping)
  6. Esri StoryMap –  (narrative mapping)
  7. Airtable – (databases)
  8. Vistorian – (maps, networks)
  9. Onodo – (networks)
  10. CollectionBuilder – (archiving)

Tools that can help with a final project but aren’t quite enough to be the final project:

  1. StoryMap JS – (narrative mapping)
  2. Tiki-Toki – (timeline)
  3. Timeline JS –  (timeline)
  4. MapWarper – (georectifying maps)
  5. OpenRefine – (data cleaning)
  6. RAW Graphs – (visualization)
  7. Tabula – (transforming tables into data)
  8. Tropy – (data organization)
  9. Distant Reader – (text analysis)


  • Analysis (70%)
    • Provides a thorough background on and context of the tool (30%)
    • Provides multiple examples of how the tool can be used (20%)
    • Analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the tool, providing at least one of each (20%)
  • Presentation Skills (30%)
    • Appropriate use of time (did not finish too early or over time) (5%)
    • Presentation is organized and flows naturally (10%)
    • Communication is clear, engaging, and polished (including, eye contact with audience members, did not speak too fast or too slow) (10%)
    • Used slides that enhanced the presentation (5%)