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Research Tool Review


March 24, 2015 by rjordan10

For my research tool review, I looked at ZoteroDropBox, Omeka, and Listango. Over the past nine weeks, I really enjoyed using all four sites/apps, and I think I will probably continue to use all of them. I found that they were all helpful and useful for different things, sometimes even outside of school work.

The first digital tool that I’m going to review is Zotero. I had heard of Zotero before in some of my other classes during past semesters, but I had never really used it a lot myself, even though I had downloaded the software on my laptop. Zotero was kind of hard to figure out, especially at first, and the fact that it works best if you download the software, instead of just using the website was kind of a hassle; it would have been a lot easier if it was just a website, rather than having to put download strange software on my laptop. The software is pretty easy to download, and doesn’t take that long to download (at least it didn’t for me.) It was also really easy to set up a Zotero account; all I had to do was create a username and password, and give my email address, which is the same as most sites. I found that the more I used Zotero, the easier it became to use, since it was kind of complicated at first. It also saved a lot of time because you can look up a source anywhere online (like a book on, and Zotero creates the citation for you in whatever style you need (Chicago, APA, etc.) Once you have a source in your library in Zotero, you can just copy and paste it into whatever you are writing, and have a completely accurate source. The personal library is also really customizable, and you can organize titles in different ways, like by project, or genre, or any way that you can think of. While Zotero did take a little bit of time to figure out, I did really find it helpful and I know that I will continue to use it in the future.

The next digital history tool that I am going to review is DropBox. I have been using DropBox for a long time, and when i found out about this blog post, I knew right away that it would be one of the digital tools that I review. DropBox is a website where you create an account to login, but there is also an optional phone app available for most phones, and like Zotero, software that you download onto your computer. You can store documents (and photos), as well as just about any kind of media on DropBox, and access them online, or on the computer software, or on your phone. One thing that I really liked about DropBox is that if someone emails me a document, it is really easy to download, and open (and then read) in DropBox. I also liked how easy it is to organize my different things in DropBox; all it is is just creating a new folder, and then putting the items I want in to it. Out of all the digital history tools that I reviewed, DropBox has been my favorite, and I will continue to use it in the future.

The next digital history tool that I will be reviewing the website building site Not only have I been using Omeka for this class for the Atlanta Rail Corridor Project, but I have also been creating my Capstone project on Omeka, so I feel like I have gotten a lot of use out of it, considering before this semester, I had never heard of it before. There are two Omeka websites:, and, but the one I am reviewing is Like most sites, when you first start using Omeka, you create a username and password, and also enter your email. Something I found that might be a turn-off to some people who aren’t part of a school was that you do have to pay a yearly fee for Omeka; I think the cheapest was about fifty dollars per year. Also, things like the add-ons to an Omeka site can be kind of hard to navigate, and figure out how to use. Also, in terms of themes for the website you create, there really weren’t many templates to choose from. Other there than the add-ons, though, the site is fairly straight forward, and doesn’t take a whole lot of time to figure out how to use. Overall, though, I have enjoyed using Omeka, and will continue to use it, and probably learn more about it in the future with the Atlanta Beltline Project for this class, and my Capstone project.

The fourth digital history tool that I will be reviewing is Listango. Listango is a website where you sign up, and are able to bookmark pages using a Listango add-on that you add to your bookmarks bar. Once you have the add-on in your bookmarks, you are able to bookmark any webpage that you visit, and it will be saved to your Listango page. One of the things that I really liked about Listango is that you can organize you bookmarks by topic, so they don’t get jumbled together, saving a lot of confusion. Listango has been really helpful for all of my classes this semester, as well as for outside of school, and like the other digital tools that I looked at, I will continue to use it in the future.


  1. cdavis132 says:

    I too have found zotero somewhat difficult to learn, which is why I have chosen to just stick with my old system. I often feel like there is too much going on with Zotero and sometimes the simpler route is best. Or at least that’s my opinion.
    Much like Zotero, I have found dropbox confusing at times. Though we have made use of it through the group of authors I write with on the Emerging Civil War blog. My experience with it is very limited. I think what frustrated me the most was the limits that were placed on how much material it can hold. If I remember correctly you could up the amount stored for different prices. I really like Google Drive, because there is no limit on the storage and you still have the ability to share documents with others, and have access to them where ever you go.

  2. Julie says:

    Becky, I love dropbox! It’s a great way to make information accessible a lot of different people. I think it works especially well for a professional setting. I think the biggest issue I have had with dropbox is that it really does not handle large files very easily, but at honestly, what free storage space does?

  3. Adina Langer says:


    I am interested in what made you decide to use Listango in particular to organize your bookmarks. In a way, Zotero can do something similar by archiving web pages. Does Listango let you share your bookmarks more effectively across platforms?

  4. rjordan10 says:

    Hi Adina,
    From my experience, Listango only allows users the option to share their lists on Facebook, Twitter, or via email. However, I think the main reason that I preferred it instead of Zotero was that it just seemed much simpler. I personally thought that Zotero, while it is a brilliant idea in theory, just doesn’t totally work out in reality, because it is kind of complicated to figure out the mechanics of the site. Once I figured out how to use it to site sources, I started to like it more, but given how complicated and time consuming it was trying to learn how to do that, I can’t see myself using it for much else. However, one of the things that I did like about Zotero is that after it creates a citation for you, it saves it until it you delete it. I think Zotero and Listango are very similar, but Listango seems to be a more simplified version, and that is what drew me to it.

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