Digital Research Tools (DiRT) is a robust directory containing an ever-growing list of research tools, searchable by category or keyword. Resources range “from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mind-mapping software.” DiRT makes it easier to discover and compare tools for digital research.
Getting Started with DiRT
DiRT is primarily group-based, and is totally optional. By default, it’s turned off, since it may not be useful for some groups. For others, it’s an exciting addition. Group admins go to “Manage” and then “Digital Resource Tools” to enable DiRT. See the screenshot below :
Once enabled, a new tab will appear on your group homepage. All members of your group can now click on it and explore what tools other group members are using and check the “I use this” boxes to register personal usage.
To rescind your usage, simply uncheck the “I use this” box. If you have never visited this tab or want to add to your list of tools, click on the Digital Tools Directory hyperlink. Here you will see a list of all the tools that are used by Commons members, and you can easily check some more boxes to register usage. You can also be a pioneer and search the DiRT repository for tools no one on the Commons has checked yet:
Here you tap into all tools on the DiRT repository. Search by category or keyword. Explore possible tools and register usage or interest in a tool. Click on the “Show Description” hyperlink in the search results list to get a quick synopsis of the tool without leaving the Commons. Or you can click on “Learn more on dirtdirectory.org” and leave the Commons to drill down to even more specifics on the DiRT site.
Don’t worry if you are in two groups that both have DiRT enabled. You do not need to re-enter your tool usage. In fact, you will notice a new menu item called “Digital Research Tools” on your “Commons Profile” page, circled in red, which lets you enter your digital tools and access DiRT outside the context of a Commons group.
Hope you enjoy this discovery tool!