100 Free Resources for Personal Historians.

pointing up

Here’s a list for both the newcomer  to personal histories and those with many years of experience.  It’s an eclectic list which ranges from creative writing prompts to photo retouching software and from free fonts to a dictionary of military terms. Even if you’re not a personal historian, you’ll find something here that you can use. Have fun! And let me know if you have some favorite free resources you’d like to add to the list.

  1. Creative Writing Prompts – Point your cursor to any number, read the prompt and then write your story!
  2. Convert PDF to Word(Doc) - quickly and easily create editable DOC/RTF files, making it a cinch to re-use PDF content in applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, OpenOffice, and WordPerfect.
  3. Timeglider – web-based timeline software for creating and sharing history and project planning
  4. GIMP – downloadable software suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition, and image authoring.
  5. Microsoft Word Tips – This site contains thousands of tips and tricks on how to use Word better, faster, and more easily. You can quickly access the answers you need.
  6. The American Heritage Guide to the Best of the Web – a critical guide to the World Wide Web’s very best sites about history and about topics of historical interest.
  7. Brainy Quote – One of the best!
  8. The Elements of Style – the classic reference book by William Strunk,Jr.
  9. Universal Currency Converter – Perform currency and foreign exchange calculations.
  10. OneLook Dictionary – 13,587,880 words in 1024 dictionaries indexed.
  11. Library and Archives Canada – Canada’s national collection of books, historical documents, government records, photos, films, maps, music…and more.
  12. The National Archives and Records Administration – The  American record keeper.Valuable records are preserved and available for research.
  13. AlternaTime – A massive collection of various timelines on the Web.
  14. Symbols.com - contains more than 1,600 articles about 2,500 Western signs, arranged into 54 groups according to their graphic characteristics.
  15. National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) – Provides and promotes bibliographic access to the U.S.  documentary heritage.
  16. MediaFire – Share your files and images through just one site without ever having to worry about disk space, hosting, or bandwidth again.
  17. Synonyms.net – the web’s most comprehensive synonyms resource.
  18. Prelinger Archives – holding approximately 4,000 titles on videotape and a smaller collection of film materials.
  19. Flickr (Creative Commons) – a source of thousands of free photos provide proper attribution is given.
  20. Microsoft Office templates – over 250 free templates and documents.
  21. KnowFree.net – a place for users to exchange freely e-books, video training and other materials for educational purposes, self-practice only.
  22. The Online Books Page – a website that facilitates access to books that are freely readable over the Internet.
  23. Scribd — the website where more than 60 million people each month discover and share original writings and documents.
  24. Wordcounter – ranks the most frequently used words in any given body of text. Use this to see what words you overuse
  25. Free Artistic Photos – Photographer Lucian Husac has made available his own  pictures. You can use all his pictures for free (for non-commercial reasons).
  26. Flash Kit – A huge archive of royalty free sound effects for download and use in your multimedia projects.
  27. The Freesound Project – aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, … released under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License.
  28. Audacity – a free, open source software for recording and editing sounds.
  29. Movie Masher -  A set of Adobe Flash™ applets that provide front-end tools for common video editing tasks.
  30. Writeboard – sharable, web-based text documents that let you save every edit, roll back to any version, and easily compare changes. Write solo or collaborate with others.
  31. 1001 Free Fonts – started in December 1998 it has since grown to become one of the most popular free fonts archive online.
  32. What The Font! – Seen a font in use and want to know what it is?
  33. Work.com – the entrepreneur’s owner’s manual to where to go, what to know, and how to get the most value from the ever-growing array of Web resources for the small business owner/operator.
  34. Open Office – the leading open-source office software suite  for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more.
  35. FreeTranslation.com -  allows users to obtain free translations of both text and web pages.
  36. HP Learning center – Free, online classes, available 24/7 covering business basics and more.
  37. Alerts.com – a service where you can manage alerts from every available service all in one place. Whether it’s the weather, news, traffic, birthday or event reminders, price notifications or the latest scores of your favorite team.
  38. CutePDF Writer – the free version of commercial PDF creation software.
  39. Nero 9 Free Version – Enjoy basic data burning and copying capabilities for your CDs and DVDs.
  40. Infoplease – a comprehensive reference source that combines the contents of an encyclopedia, a dictionary, an atlas, and several almanacs loaded with statistics, facts, and historical records. A single search engine allows you to search all these sources at once.
  41. Creative Commons – a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.
  42. Writers’ Zone – a growing resource for writers who want to get their work published, or who want to develop their careers.
  43. Acronym Finder – the world’s largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms.
  44. Dictionary of Military Terms - the United States Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms.
  45. Tech Terms Computer Dictionary – the free online dictionary of computer and technology terms.
  46. morguefile – a free photo reference archive which provides a repository of free raw photo materials.
  47. Seamless Vector Patterns – Over 500 different types of vector patterns which are perfect for print and great to be used within web design.
  48. GrammarBook.com – helpful rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
  49. Prompt Generator – Use this Prompt Generator to find great questions for interviewing clients.
  50. Writing Prompts – A list of great questions.
  51. Speech Tips - a step-by-step guide from the speech planning process, through the speech writing stage, to preparation for your public speaking engagement and ultimately to delivery of the speech itself.
  52. SlideShare – a way to get your slides out there on the web, so your ideas can be found and shared by a wide audience.
  53. Veoh – an open platform for content publishers of all sizes and sophistication who want to reach tomorrow’s television audience.
  54. MediaCollege.com – a free educational and resource website for all forms of electronic media. Topics include video & television production, audio work, photography, graphics, web design and more.
  55. Tinypic – a fast, simple and reliable video and image hosting site that you can use to share your experiences. There is no registration or log-in required.
  56. PRLog – a free online press release service. You can submit your press releases at no charge.
  57. Severa – Manage customers, projects, time and billing with a single SaaS application. Sign up one user for free.
  58. FreelanceSwitch – an hourly rate calculator to give you a guide based on your costs, number of billable hours and desired profit.
  59. Zoho – Create, send and manage invoices, quotes and customer payments online.
  60. LiteAccounting – an online application that gives you the tools you need to invoice and receive payment from your customers.
  61. Klok – Keep track of anything with Klok’s simple work timer and visual display of how your days “fill up”.
  62. Izzy Video – a resource to help you get started and develop your skills in shooting video.
  63. Kayak – named “Best of the Web” by BusinessWeek. Kayak searches hundreds of travel sites from all over the world, lets you refine and choose the exact result you want and then sends you directly to the source to make your purchase.
  64. Frekfly -  practical information for travelers that travel by air.Where’s the airport located? What currency do they have over there? What’s the weather? How do you get from the airport to the city center?
  65. Spresent - a free Web-based alternative to PowerPoint. Create and edit high-quality Flash presentations online.
  66. Docly – the Web 2.0 online word processor with copyright protection, automatically assigns copyrights (both All Rights Reserved and Creative Commons) licenses to all published Docly Documents.
  67. Odiogo -  transforms news sites and blog posts into high fidelity, near human quality audio files ready to download and play anywhere, anytime, on any device.
  68. Grader.com – A family of tools that helps measure all that matters in inbound marketing.
  69. iTunes U – a part of the iTunes Store featuring free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, that you can enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC.
  70. Animoto – a web application that, with the click of a button, produces videos using images and music that a user selects.
  71. VoiceThread – a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam).
  72. SimplyBox – a free service that allows you to visually capture any part of a web page. As you collect items that you captured, you organize them in boxes.
  73. Remember The Milk – you no longer have to write your to-do lists on sticky notes, whiteboards, random scraps of paper, or the back of your hand.
  74. FreshBooks – delivers fast and simple invoicing and time tracking services that help you manage your business.
  75. YouSendIt – ideal for sending large files without the limitations of email attachments, FTP connections or overnighting critical data.
  76. FreeMind – free premiere mind mapping software.
  77. Google Docs – Create documents, spreadsheets and presentations online.
  78. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition – Antivirus and antispyware protection for Windows.
  79. Express Scribe – a free professional audio player software for PC, Mac or Linux designed to assist the transcription of audio recordings.
  80. Grubba – a free and online alternative for MS access and Filemaker pro. Choose a template or create your own forms and database to fit your individual needs.
    Suitable for beginner and advanced users.
  81. Scribus – an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/UNIX, Mac OS X, OS/2 and Windows desktops with a combination of “press-ready” output and new approaches to page layout.
  82. Clip art – free from Microsoft.
  83. Invoice Journal – The fast, easy and free way to send invoices to anyone in the world from anywhere in the world.
  84. Open Source Web Design – a site to download free web design templates and share yours with others.
  85. How To Be Creative – a free e-book by Hugh MacLeod, an advertising executive and popular blogger with a flair for the creative. He gives his 26 tried-and-true tips for being truly creative. Each point illustrated by a cartoon drawn by the author himself.
  86. 100 Ways to Help You Succeed/Make Money, Part 1 – A free e-book. In this first installment by Tom Peters you’ll find 50 short, wonderfully sweet nuggets of advice.
  87. The Archival Advisor – a university-based, nonprofit research laboratory devoted to scientific research in the preservation of visual and other forms of recorded information.
  88. Penzu – a free, intuitive, private, fast, and easy web-based journal.
  89. Picasa – The easy way to find, edit, and share your photos.
  90. Evernote – allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.
  91. Free Business Templates & Images – from HP create your own marketing materials.
  92. Passpack – You can save all your pins and logins in one single place, and access them from home, the office or anywhere else.
  93. MeasuringWorth – a service for calculating relative worth over time.
  94. BlogTalkRadio – Using an ordinary telephone and computer hosts can create free, live, call-in talk shows with unlimited participants that are automatically archived and made available as podcasts.
  95. scrapblog – Combine their designer content with your photos to make scrapbooks, slideshows, greeting cards, and everything in-between. Then share or print the results.
  96. Free Online Calculators – Calculate things online with just mouse moves.
  97. The World Clock – Current local times around the world.
  98. HowStuffWorks – Learn how everything works.
  99. MarketingSherpa – a research firm specializing in tracking what works in all aspects of marketing (and what does not.)
  100. Wax – a free, high performance, and flexible video editing and special effects program.

Photo from iStockphoto

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14 Responses to 100 Free Resources for Personal Historians.

  1. What a great bit of information for anyone thinking about doing their life story. I am going to refer people to this on my next life story newsletter for next month. I might even post a link to my new blog when I get it done in the next few days! Thanks for putting this all together.

  2. Hi Dan,
    Thanks for sharing this info with APH today!

  3. This is a wonderful list of sites. You have saved many of us many hours. Thanks for taking the time to post this. This personal historian is grateful.

  4. These are great resources. I may use a couple of these. Good work

  5. Dan,
    What a terrific list of resources! I can’t wait to talk about it on my blog tomorrow, http://onestoryatatime.blogspot.com, with a link to your site, of course.

    Thanks so much for sharing such a practical list.

  6. @Beth LaMie. Thanks for the kind comments, Beth. I appreciate your making mention of my list on your blog.

  7. Dear Dan,

    When I opened your email I was “blwn away” by all the research you had done. What a treasure. I have sent it to several academics and writers who thanked me (ad you) enthusiastically.

    While I found found Picassa a good resource, I think you might want to have a look at Picnik.com which I recommend to users of my site. It’s free, user friendly and they respnd to customer questions.

    Once again, thanks very much for putting all this together,

    • @Susan. I’m glad you’ve found my list useful. I enjoyed assembling it. Your tip about Picnik.com is helpful. I’m starting to put together a follow-up list of additional free resources that people recommend. So, I’ll definitely add picnik.com. Thanks again for your enthusiastic response.

  8. Dan, thanks for sharing such a comprehensive, cutting edge resource list! What a gift to your colleagues and friends.

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