How to Find the Right Digital Tool

If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a . . . well, you’ve heard that one, and it doesn’t end well when you’re using a computer or a tablet!

For those moments when you start to wonder if there’s an easier or better digital tool out there for your needs, check out Bamboo DiRT. Bamboo DiRT is a website listing digital resources that help you organize, analyze, search, and share digital content. The site has a scholarly research focus and is curated by a board of volunteer editors. Although it has a humanities focus, the site is actively seeking input for new tools from diverse disciplines.

Especially useful for teaching and scholarship, Bamboo DiRT’s function-based organization makes it easy to quickly find an the tool that you or your students might use for a particular phase of a project. Best, as a curated listing, the tools provided are ones actually in use by other scholars; there’s no need to ask others what tools they use, track down reviews of a potential tool on multiple sites, or lose time as a result of choosing an outdated or weak tool.

The main page of the Bamboo DiRT site invites users to complete the sentence “I need a digital research tool to . . .” with options like “Author an interactive  work,” “Collect Data,” “Transcribe handwritten or spoken texts,” or “Visualize Data,” for example. Clicking on your need takes you to a page with a short summary of each tool (reviews are forthcoming, according to the site). The tool listing is sortable by device/platform type, cost, and external reviews. Once you’ve selected your optimal tool, you click through to access or purchase it.

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