Research Tools Roundup: Fall 2016

I can’t believe it’s already November!

In part, I suppose that’s because Wisconsin is unseasonably, eerily warm for this time of year.  Leaves have fallen off most of the trees in my neighborhood, but we have yet to drag out our heavy winter parkas.  I’m happy, if not a tad unsettled – some years it seems like we don’t get a spring or a fall, so a longer fall is appreciated.

No matter the season, new apps come out, and technology improves – so I wanted to take a moment to highlight 3 neat tools for research that I came across as of late.  Hopefully one of these is helpful for you, reader!

  1. Diigo: Another read-it-later service, with some nice additional features.  
    Diigo allows you to highlight and save snippets of text from any website, and filter only those websites you’ve annotated, or those you’ve yet unread.  The typical tagging system seen on sites like Instapaper is also included.  I haven’t looked at the other tools (such as the outlining tools) in depth, but I’m very pleased with the app thus far.
  2. Overleaf: Google Docs, but for LaTeX.  I’ve been using Overleaf for about a month, and it’s a fantastic solution for LaTeX editing in your browser – complete with a preview alongside your LaTeX code!  You can even enable a Git repository for your writings and do versioning that way.  You can collaborate with others, but I haven’t tested those features yet.
  3. Screencast-O-Matic: Cross-platform screen recording software.  Nothing is worse than giving a demo for a presentation and having your app fail mid-demonstration!  I recently had to give a presentation on digitizing assessments for occupational therapists, and wanted to demo software we created.  Instead of walking through the demo live, I opted to record a quick demo video with Screen-O-Matic.  The free version allows videos to be taken up to 15 minutes in length with a small watermark in the lower left hand corner – and if you hate watermarks, it’s only $15/year for a paid version!

Recently I’ve also discovered Paraview, which is an open source visualization and data analysis tool.  Unfortunately, I can’t give much of a review for this application just yet, as I’m still toying around with this software, but it looks promising as well!