History Database Project: Snap Judgment on “Heurist”

Heurist’s “research-driven data management system allows any confident researcher or data manager to design, create, manage, analyse and publish their own richly-structured database(s) within hours, through a simple web interface, without need of programmers or consultants.”

Pros: It’s sophisticated, powerful, supported by a user community, free, and offers online storage.  Lots of flexibility with importing data; syncs with Zotero; and built for humanities research. Lots of specialized tools and templates for particular research databases. Helpline is available for assistance.  Can set up multi-user database for group projects.

Cons: This is a complex tool with a high barrier to entry and lots of functions and interface items to sift through before one can create a usable history research database for general note taking. Can’t use it offline, and works slowly online.

Verdict: I could see learning this interface and building the History Research Database on it.  It seems like a really interesting project, especially with the many visualization tools built into it.  FileMaker offers layout and appearance control, while Heurist doesn’t.  There are too many specialized fields for my taste, and I think inputting data would take a long time.  FileMaker offers speed and elegance and especially a high degree of control over layouts. I think I can build a better notes template that all could use and modify with FileMaker. The advantage of not having to know how to manage entities and relational tables doesn’t really apply since I’m planning on building these myself anyway.