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We all use digital tools in our everyday work, from a standard word processor and the most basic of google searches, to more specialised software capable of keeping all our bibliographies organised or the databases that we rely on for most of our research. In fact, digital tools are now so ingrained in our workflow that we hardly think twice about them: we don’t question their existence and we assume all of our colleagues must know about and use them just as much as we do.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case and that’s why, this year, ATNU is looking for The Greatest Digital Tool (you've never heard of). The idea is simple: we want to hear about the digital tools you use on a regular basis that make your research/teaching/admin work easier, faster, and better. If all computers suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, what are the tools that you couldn’t easily replace with pen and paper?


The Greatest Digital Tool (you've never heard of) takes the form of a light-hearted competition in three stages:

  1. Nominations: this is is where you can nominate your favourite tool. All you need to do is fill in a short form, available here. If your tool is selected and you are willing to do so, we will ask you to prepare a 5-minute case as to why you think your tool is the greatest.
  2. Voting: After all nominations are in, we will release the list for public voting. The wider academic community will then be able to vote on their preferred digital tool. If you feel strongly about your choice, campaigning is positively encouraged! The top-voted tools will then be discussed at...
  3. The Greatest Digital Tool (you've never heard of): ATNU Lunch discussion special. This is the big day. A short (but very intense) fast-paced special edition of our regular lunch time discussions featuring a series of five-minute lightning talks about the highest ranked digital tools. If the tool you have nominated has made it through as one of the top voted tools, we will ask you to prepare a brief case for its greatness. The final decision, however, is out of our hands, and it will be up to the audience to decide on their favourite tool. The winner will receive the ultimate prize: a warm ‘well done’ and a round of applause from everyone in the room.


The nomination period is now open! Click here to nominate your favourite digital tool.

Some tips about the nomination:

  • You can submit as many nominations as you like
  • Tools that your colleagues might not know about are more interesting
  • Try to avoid anything that is too discipline-specific: can your tool be used by colleagues in another field?
  • Don't be afraid to go against the user manual: if you use a tool for something other than what the developer intended, we want to hear about it!
  • If you developed a tool that you think could be useful to other colleagues, submit it!
  • There is no tool too small: whether your tool can only help you on a small task, or control your complete workflow, submit it!

The nomination period is open until the 27th of January 2020


The voting period will open shortly after the nomination period closes. Voting will be open to everyone, and campaigning is positively encouraged! Once the nomination period is over, you will be able to see more information about all the nominees and use that to make an informed choice (and, perhaps, discover your new favourite digital tool).