Selections from the toolkits of our librarians
The Biomedical Library and Education Commons offer free 3D printing for all members of the Penn Community. 3D printing is available for both academic and non-academic projects.
The Fisher Fine Arts Library has two ARTEC 3D scanners available for use in the Materials Library.
A document conversion platform with customized OCR (optical character recognition); can recognize non-standard fonts.
A digital audio workstation (for recording, editing and producing audio files) "featuring both a multitrack, non-destructive mix/edit environment and a destructive-approach waveform editing view" [Wikipedia].
MacOS built-in text-to-speech application allows you to listen to documents and easily create audio files from text.
Audacity is a free, cross-platform audio editing program available online or via free download. Audacity facilitates audio imports, recording, editing, working with multiple tracks, and exporting.
BlueJeans is a cloud based cross platform video conferencing service licensed by the University of Pennsylvania. It can be started and joined via a PC, Mac, smartphone, or regular landline (audio only). Each meeting can accommodate up to 100 participants and supports recording of the meeting and screen/media sharing.
Provides an easy browsing option for discovering Penn Libraries scholarly journal content. BrowZine pulls together articles from library subscription databases, joins them into complete issues, and displays them in a “newsstand” view.
CARTO Builder is cloud-based mapping software that does not require knowledge of code. Georectified historical maps may be used as basemaps.
You can sign up for this platform using the Github school pack or just sign up on their website. If you use your '.edu' email to gain access, it allows extra functionalities.
CARTO is transitioning to a new platform, CARTO Builder.
ChemDraw is the most common program used by individuals to draw chemical structures, glassware, and biological entities for inclusion in documents and presentations. Drawings can be copied and pasted into Word and PowerPoint on the PC and are editable from within the document, provided you are using a computer that has ChemDraw installed. On the Mac, ChemDraw entities are converted to image form when inserted and should therefore be saved separately for editing purposes. It is also possible to launch a SciFinder or a Reaxys search from within newer versions of ChemDraw. ChemDraw is available on the computers in the Chemistry Library Computer Lab.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a language used for determining the the look of a document written in a markup language like HTML. In particular, CSS is used to style web pages.
An open source platform useful for visualizing networks, including co-authorship networks and biological data networks.
Tool that helps you create a data management plan.
Draft a data management plans that meet funding agency requirements. DMPTool is formatted as a template to address specific aspects of managing research data including data types, ownership, description, preservation and sharing. The tool prompts you with guidelines and questions specific to your funding agency.
A dictation application that can be trained to recognize your voice and specialized vocabularies.
Dreamweaver is a powerful program that can create and manage complex websites and web applications. It is part of the Adobe Creative Suite (along with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.). Compared to the other programs described in this guide, the learning curve for Dreamweaver is quite steep. It may be best approached after gaining basic knowledge of HTML and CSS code.
Connect to Penn resources through the Penn Proxy bookmark tool. Add a button to your browser's bookmark toolbar, then when you want to view an article off-campus but are prompted for a subscription log-in, simply click the bookmark and enter your Pennkey and Password.
On a desktop? Check Lean Library Access.
Flickr is a photo management service that allows you to upload and share high quality photos, connect with friends, and stay in touch. Flickr also provides easy ways to find great images and use social tagging to manage your finds.
GarageBand enables music creators to record, edit, mix, and share audio tracks. Create your own songs from scratch, or make combinations using GarageBand's digital samples.
Available for MacOS and iOS devices.
Web-based, collaborative service for version control with git, source code management (SCM), and hosting software projects.
Google Analytics is a tool that can be integrated with your website, blog, or other web presence in order to collect and report data that will help you to evaluate and improve your site's effectiveness and visibility. Standard and custom reports help you manage and boost your viewership and thus maximize your web presence.
A suite of cloud-based collaboration applications that includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides (which are compatible with Microsoft office formats), as well as Google Forms (survey software), Google Drawings (diagramming software), Google Sites(web building software), Google My Maps (map overlay editor), and Google Fusion Tables (database manager and map application).
Heat maps and other visualization tools, for working with your own uploaded data. A simple way to quickly geocode addresses.
Online spreadsheet compatible with Microsoft Excel format. Multiple editors can collaborate in real-time.
A tool for creating web sites. It works well with other Google Apps, like Calendars and Docs.
GraphPad Prism is a statistical and scientific graphing software used for organizing, analyzing, interpreting, and visualizing data in a professional manner.
Markup language used for structuring and presenting content on the web. Compared to earlier versions, it has improved accessibility, semantic value, and support for multimedia.
The tool performs automatic syntax-based intra-language alignment or alignment between parallel texts in the same language (paraphrased from the site).
Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor especially useful for typesetting, logo design, and line art.
Video editing software for Mac and iOS. Import video, organize or delete video clips, add a soundtrack, add subtitles, and create special effects.
Free and open-source vector graphics editors editor, which uses the ubiquitous .SVG format as its native filetype. Compatible with Mac, Linux, and Windows.
A powerful screen reader application designed to allow Blind and low-vision users to use electronic resources (for Microsoft Windows).
Take a screenshot or screencast and quickly upload it to the web. Useful for online reference services.
Kahoot is a game-based classroom response for administering quizzes, facilitating discussions, or collecting survey data.
Latex is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting. It is most often used for technical or scientific documents but it can be used for almost any form of publishing. Latex is not a particular editing program but there are programs written specifically to make using Latex easy.
A browser extension that provides seamless access to Penn Libraries subscriptions from anywhere on the web.
The Lean Library Access extension provides quick and simple access to digital content provided by Penn Libraries.
Download the extension and it will automatically detect when you are on a website that contains content the library subscribes to.
The gray extension icon will turn green if the library provides access. If you are off campus or using wireless access, you may be prompted to log in with your PennKey credentials.
If the content you’d like to use doesn’t seem accessible, the extension will automatically check for open-access versions of the article or provide a link to interlibrary loan.
For mobile devices, see the Libraries' EZproxy browser bookmarklet
MALLET (MAchine Learning for LanguagE Toolkit) is a collection of tools that facilitate document classification, sequence tagging, and topic modeling. There is also an add-on toolkit (Graphical Models in MALLET) for visualization.
Web mapping tools that requires no knowledge of code. What makes this platform unique is that it allows easy manipulation of the background or base map in terms of colors that are assigned to each layer.
MATLAB is a high-level language and interactive environment for numerical computation, visualization, and programming. Using MATLAB, you can analyze data, develop algorithms, and create models and applications. The language, tools, and built-in math functions enable you to explore multiple approaches and reach a solution faster than with spreadsheets or traditional programming languages, such as C/C++ or Java
Mendeley assists at every stage of the research process, from gathering research and annotating PDFs to organizing citations and creating bibliographies.
Open source software for processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes. It also has an extremely fast slide function.
Qualitative data analysis software. Runs visualizations and queries, and incorporates categorical data.
Omeka is a content management system designed for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions. Omeka is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content and interpretation rather than programming. It makes top-shelf design easy with a simple and flexible templating system. Its robust open-source developer and user communities underwrite Omeka’s stability and sustainability. Omeka allows users to publish cultural heritage objects, extend its functionality with themes and plugins, and curate online exhibits with digital objects [ DIRT Directory ].
ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized [orcid.org].
For documents that are associated with an XML schema, Oxygen offers tag completion. It is particularly powerful for editing XSLT.
Palladio is a web-based platform for the visualization of complex, multi-dimensional data. You can use it to plot and analyze point data.
Penn+Box is a cloud-based collaboration service for securely managing and sharing files and folders within the Penn community and externally.
Adobe Photoshop is an industry standard piece of software for image editing. It is used by photographers, graphic designers, web designers, videographers, 3D artists, typographers, students, and others. It is primarily a pixel-based (raster) image editing program, but it does contain some vector graphics editing, text layout, and video capabilities as well.
Web-based polling tool that uses web and mobile-device responses instead of clickers.
PowerPoint is Microsoft's presentation software for creating engaging presentations that consist of individual pages, or slides, which may contain text, graphics, sound, movies, hyperlinks, and other objects. PowerPoint enables users to add animation and effects to slideshow elements. Presentations can be printed, displayed, notated, and navigated by the presenter.
Prezi is a web-based tool that outshines PowerPoint in many ways. It allows you to create and present presentations with motion and organic structure, and keeps your audience engaged.
Qualtrics is a web-based survey creation, collection, and analysis software tool. Can be used for the creation of open surveys, targeted (panel) surveys, and open polling.
QGIS (or Quantum GIS) is an open source geographic information system. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. There are also numerous plug-ins that extend the functionality of QGIS.
RefWorks is a web-based bibliography and database manager that allows you to create your own personal database by importing references from text files, online databases and other sources. You can use these references in writing papers and automatically format the paper and the bibliography.
SAS, produced by the SAS Institute, is widely used in business applications. It's known for its steep learning curve and facility with complex data sets.
The Scaife Viewer is a project of the Perseus Digital Library. It's a reading environment for pre-modern text collections, both in their original languages and in translation. Greek and Latin texts are emphasized but texts in additional pre-modern languages are also accommodated. Contributed material is published almost immediately and Scaife's widgets widgets can integrate texts with annotations and external APIs.
Scalar makes it easy to import media items such as images and videos from a variety of online archives.
ScholarlyCommons is the University of Pennsylvania's institutional repository for gathering, indexing, storing, and making widely available the scholarly output of the Penn community.
ScreenFlow software is popular with faculty and students as an easy way to capture video of your desktop or laptop screen. It is available for your use in the Weigle Information Commons (in the Vitale Digital Media Lab, the Macbook laptops in the WIC Seminar Room and all Mac stations in the group study rooms and open areas). SAS Computing provides access to ScreenFlow at the MMS lab rooms in DRL.
Scrivener is a word processing program that allows users to organize drafts and manuscripts into chapters and sections, manage research notes, and import documents such as PDFs and Word documents. It also has a corkboard feature for organizing notes on "index cards" visually, and a full-screen writing mode that blocks out other windows to allow the user to concentrate on writing.
An easy-to-use OCR (optical character recognition) tool that allows users to transform documents into many formats, including MP3, DAISY, EPUB, and digital Braille.
Penn now has a subscription for all university students, faculty, and staff.
SketchUp is a great way to create 3D interactive landscapes. You can create buildings, objects, fantasy worlds - anything you can imagine effortlessly. You can also download and adapt 3D objects created by others. SketchUp also has functionality to create walking-tour video to create a tour of your creation as a standard YouTube video.
Snapz Pro X is software for Mac that allows you to record anything on your screen and save it to a QuickTime movie or screenshot, which can be put on the web, emailed, or sent anywhere.
Stata has both command line and point-and-click interfaces, with an intuitive syntax.
It comes in different flavors based on capabilities: Stata/SE (up to 32,767 variables) and Stata/IC (up to 2,047 variables).
A popular, web-based application for creating survey forms:
- Create surveys with different questions types
- Apply themes and use templates
- Collect responses
- Analyze results
Text Encoding Initiative is a community of practice in the field of digital humanities designed to work with manuscripts and other texts. The TEI Guidelines define an XML format that is primarily semantic. Check the libraries' workshop calendar to join the TEI Collective to learn more about this coding practice.
Interactive polling software. TurningPoint has established itself as a major player in audience response technology, so you'll find a lot of support for it at Penn. For instance, SAS Computing has standardized on the ResponseCard system from TurningPoint.
TurningPoint is under active development. They are now offering a product called "ResponseWare", which allows students to respond using a laptop or any web-capable smartphone.
VIVO is a semantic web platform that reveals research and scholarship through linked profiles of people and other research-related information. VIVO is populated with data from authoritative, trusted sources to create researcher profiles, highlighting faculty expertise, publications, grants, teaching, service and social networks. VIVO enables the discovery of scholarship across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.
Web-based application for performing text analysis. Provides data and visualizations for word frequency and word location in texts. Compares two texts side by side.
WordPress is a free web-based tool that was originally designed for blogging but now offers a full set of features for website creation.
XML (Extensible Markup Language) can be used to encode documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable.
A text magnification and text-to-speech application designed for low-vision readers (for Microsoft Windows).