Here you will find a continuously updated list of recommendations for useful tools for media science research. For corrections, suggestions or additions please write to us!

Newspapers and periodicals

  • The impresso project( at the University of Lausanne provides full-text data and analysis tools on Swiss newspaper history. Currently, around 76 newspapers and magazines are recorded here(, in more than 600,000 copies. This means that more than 5 million pages recorded in full text, i.e. around 12 billion words and almost 3.5 million images, are available for research.

Post, telephone and telegraphy

Staatsarchiv Basel

  • The State Archives contain documents from almost 1000 years of history. The use of this archive material is in principle open to all persons and serves to secure and research unique cultural assets. On the website of the State Archives ( you will find information on research possibilities, on archived holdings and on the work of the archive.
    In addition, the Basel State Archives have extensive collections of images, photographs and films that can be researched online and are partly available digitally.

Audio and video

  • SRF Media Database (FARO). Two workstations with access to the FARO database are available in the periodical reading room of the Basel University Library. This allows access to the SRF archive. A database can be used to search for SRF broadcasts and contributions, which can also be retrieved and viewed on site.
  • The Swiss National Sound Archives( is the sound archive of Switzerland. It collects musical and spoken documents related to the history and culture of Switzerland. Some of the documents are available for listening and can be accessed through the network of AV workstations at the Phonotheque in Lugano or through workstations at the University Library of Basel.
  • The Prelinger Archives( is a film collection of American cultural history and contains many materials, such as commercials and industrial films, that are particularly interesting for research in media history. The videos are freely available and can be searched and retrieved using this platform(


Big Data

  • The GDELT Project(Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone) captures broadcast, print,and online news in more than 100 languages worldwide. It allows individual people, places, organizations, topics, sources, quotes, images, etc. to be identified and visualized. It is a free and open source platform to collect and analyze Big Data worldwide.
    Both the data and analysis tools are available for download.
  • As early as 1968, the French historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie wrote "The historian of tomorrow will be a programmer or he will no longer exist". In this spirit, The Programming Historian platform ( provides a set of tools and short introductions for historians to learn basics in essential programming languages and useful basic skills.
  • To get started with programming for the humanities and cultural studies, one recommended book is, how could it be otherwise, Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities by media scholar Nick Montfort. The book gives instructions for first steps in programming for the arts and humanities and uses exclusively free and open source software.
  • With his The Art of Computer Programming, computer scientist and programmer Donald Knuth has presented a standard work that helps to program correctly and legibly and to comment on the program code. Markus Krajewski has demonstrated in a noteworthy essay that this is not only a writing practice for computer scientists but also for cultural and media studies.
  • Golo Roden published in March 2020 five rules to follow to write readable code. The article and the rules can be found here.


Audio and Video

  • Anvil( is a free software for video analysis under the operating systems (Linux and Apple). The user manual can be found here(
  • Transana( provides an environment to transcribe, annotate (tag), and analyze audio and video files (fee required).
  • trAVis( is a free music-centered transcription program for audiovisual media products that combines image-based and text-thermeneutic approaches with musicological approaches. With trAVis, the complex interplay of image, text and sound/music can be transcribed, analyzed and interpreted in an interdisciplinary way.
  • TRAVIS GO( is a free app for simple and collaborative annotation of video and audio material. With the collaboration feature, projects can be digitally edited and shared together in TRAVIS GO in real time or time-shifted.

Social Media

  • With Fraidycatyou can follow as many users as you like across different platforms (there are versions for Linux, Mac OS and Windows) via a desktop application or as a browser addon for Firefox and Chrome; be it on Twitter, blogs, YouTube, or public TiddlyWikis. The software is free and open source and available for download on Github.
  • OCRopus ( is a free document analysis and text recognition software. Allows optical character recognition, document structure analysis and use of statistical language models (free).
    Link to OCRopus wiki(
  • Ocrad is a free text recognition software for the Linux command line, developed since 2003 as part of the GNU project. There are several user interfaces that make this software easier to use, such as OCRFeeder.
  • For Fraktur fonts, Tesseract( currently provides the best results. It is free software for text recognition. To improve recognition rates, Tesseract uses language models that can also be trained. It supports not only Latin Antiqua scripts, but also Fraktur script, Devanagari (Indian script), Chinese, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Cyrillic and other scripts. [Quick start guide( for using tesseract in German
  • Transkribus( is currently the best available tool for automatic handwriting recognition (free with registration).
  • EndNote Basic is free of charge for students of the University of Basel. To use the service, access Web of Science( from the computer network of the University of Basel and open a personal account. An account for EndNote Basic can also be created outside of Web of Science, one per e-mail address. This account also allows alerts, citation alerts and personal settings in Web of Science. Those who are already registered with Web of Science can use the existing account. Since the stored bibliographies can be accessed worldwide, a secure password is recommended.
    Information about the differences between EndNote (paid, desktop & online) and EndNote Basic (free, online only): can be found
    An online tutorial can be found here(

  • Synapsen is a digital card index, i.e. a proven storage medium based on an electronic literature database, which allows to process bibliographies. However, in contrast to conventional literature management software, Synapsen offers a decisive advantage: on the basis of keywords entered, the program automatically links individual pieces of paper and thus establishes sometimes forgotten, but also completely unexpected connections and relationships between the entries. Synapsen is therefore not only an electronic literature management system, but also a writing aid for scientific texts, which is able to soufflate argumentations in constant communication with the author as well as to help in finding ideas.
    Here you can find more detailed information and the scope of functions ( The software can be downloaded here( The author's site also has media history articles on the history and theory of noteboxes and collaborative text production between humans and machines.



  • The Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft( is one of the central German-language publications in media studies. The individual issues each work on a specific set of topics, illuminating them from different perspectives of the discipline and providing insight into current research questions and debates. The articles are available in print and online as PDF.

Film Studies

  • The Film-Philosophy Journal( is an international and English-language publication operating at the intersection of film studies and philosophy. Three issues are published annually, and submissions of own texts are also possible via the website. In addition, the annual Film-Philosophy Conference is held; announcement and program can be found on the website.
  • Senses of Cinema( is an online journal dedicated to the study of film as an art form in its own right. The content includes film theory, film reviews, book reviews, festival reviews, and a dedicated podcast on selected films.


This page was compiled by Mario Wimmer and is currently maintained by him.