Top Ten Software Tool List #2 – Tools I’ve Dabbled With

This list is a little harder to whittle down; I’ve dabbled with more than ten!  I’ll try to eliminate the most obvious ones…like FaceBook, which I finally admitted defeat and began to use some time in the last year.  I’m not much for small talk, and that’s what FB seems to be about, so I held out for a while like a good Gen-Xer, though that’s now the prime user group, it seems.

Anyway, leaving that option out, and assuming that it’s obvious that I’m dabbling with WordPress, whose results you can see here, here are ten others:

  • VUE (Visual Understanding Environment), a concept-mapping program from Tufts University, the same mob who are responsible for Perseus, the classics and language parsing repository.  The learning curve for VUE is steep, because help is rather basic.  It is plenty powerful for data handling and can manage multiple layers, with clever analysis tools.  I managed to import my EndNote research library via Excel (in a complicated manner!) and have its data interpreted rationally by VUE, with benefits like instant highlighting of all works with the same keyword, etc.  But it’s sink or swim.

VUE Example Patristic

  • Transliterate.com – a little thing for biblical scholars and students that renders a line of Greek or Hebrew into correctly accented English transliteration.  Cuts down the time that transliteration requires by about 80%.  If you have more than a line or so to transliterate, it’s a great help.  Free from Logos.
  • StepBible – does 75% of what paid-for Bible software does, for free.  Depended on it last year for access to the Samaritan Pentateuch, which I couldn’t find elsewhere.  From the Tyndale Tech people, especially David Instone-Brewer, the guy behind the TyndaleTech blog, who has a long track record of providing this sort of great digital help.
  • FreePlane, the mindmapper that I used to diagram the structure of Psalm 148, as below.

Psalm 148 mind map screen shot enlarged

  • Docear – the unique referencing software that uses the FreePlane mindmapper, integrated with bibliographic functions, to permit the mapping of one’s own research sources in one diagram and the structure of a written piece in the other.

Docear Example

  • MS Excel – sorry, included another Office program, but the surprises keep coming at what this program can do.  It’s a great translator, importing data in one form and spitting it out in another.  And if your table is too complicated for Word to handle, it’s really Excel where it will be at home.
  • Pinterest – my way of upgrading browser bookmarks to a more visual, user-friendly form.  If only you had the option of sorting the pins yourself!  Why users create boards of 1000 pins or more is beyond me.  It is most useful for short, selective lists.
  • Academia.edu – a nifty way to hook into relevant academic discussion and put up those pieces of academic work that risk being left in obscurity otherwise for a range of reasons.  Interesting to watch where it might go.
  • Ngram Viewer – would like to do more with this.  Earlier I posted these experiments in charting discussion of, in this case, Noah and the Flood (or Deluge) in English publications 1600-1850 or so:

NGram Viewer Noah,Flood,Deluge 1600ff

  • Zotero – tempts me to switch from EndNote at regular intervals, on account of better note-taking abilities and the ability to link records (i.e. bibliographic sources) to other, related records.  I think if its timelining function could be made more intelligent and flexible, I probably couldn’t resist any longer.

Tune in soon for list #3, the tools I look forward to experimenting with soon.

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