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FYS: The Noisy Cloister (Keating): Technology Options

Mapping Tools

StoryMapJS Authoring Interface

StoryMapJS (Knight Lab)

StoryMapJS, a free tool developed by Northwestern University's Knight Lab, is great for telling web stories characterized by strong location narratives. In addition to having a friendly authoring interface, this tool allows for inclusion of media from various sources: Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Dailymotion, Google Maps, Wikipedia, SoundCloud, Document Cloud, and more. Maps created using this platform can be shared via social media or embedded using HTML iframe.

Note: StoryMap JS is not compatible with Internet Explorer, nor does it allow for file export.

Image of a Google My Map,

Google My Maps

My Maps, a little known gem in the Google Apps suite, allows you to customize and share interactive maps. You can choose from a variety of base map styles, drop pins anywhere on a global map, add information to pins (title, description, photos, videos, etc.), and draw lines or shapes over maps. Share maps via link, embed them in a website, export them as KML files, and manage them directly from your Google Drive account.

Google My Maps Examples (video)

Note: Google My Maps works best with Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.


Image of a blank world map template for Prezi


Although Prezi isn't commonly thought of as a mapping tool, its zooming and path functionality make it a great option for telling stories that unfold through a series of locations. To use Prezi in this way, you need only two things: a little imagination, and a decent template (linked below). Prezis allow for inclusion of images, videos, sound, and PDFs, and can be shared via link, embedded in a website, or downloaded as PDF files.

World Map (Prezibase)

Blank World Map Template


Image of Esri Story Maps Interface

Esri Story Maps

Esri Story Maps is a free, user-friendly authoring solution that lets you combine professional-grade maps with images, text, and multimedia content. Currently, Esri offers seven different templates for organizing your map content. Click on the links below to learn more about a few of the templates and what they offer from a storytelling standpoint.

Story Map Tour

Story Map Journal

Story Map Cascade

Video Creation Tools

Image of iMovie icon


iMovie, a video editing software application that comes standard on OS X machines, allows you to transform photos and video clips into polished digital stories. In addition to boasting an extensive library of theme music and audio effects, iMovie offers an array of visual effect options including transitions, titles, picture-in-picture, cutaways, animated maps, stylized filters, and green-screen. Export options include YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, iTunes, and MP4.

Windows Movie Maker interface

Windows Movie Maker (2016 version recommended)

Although Microsoft discontinued support for Windows Movie Maker (WMM) in January of 2017, it still works well and remains widely thought of as an iMovie alternative for PC users. Compared to iMovie, WMM is limited from an audio standpoint: audio can't be edited frame-by-frame in the storyboard, nor can audio effects be added without use of an external tool like Audacity. From a video standpoint, however, WMM is more than serviceable, offering 130 effects, fun transitions, titles, and credits. Export options include OneDrive, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and MP4.

Image of Adobe Spark interface

Adobe Spark Video

Spark Video is a free, web-based editor that allows you to create video stories using photos, videos, music, and voice-over narration. Spark isn't likely to win any awards in the bells-and-whistles department, but it does afford you some choices:

  • Pick from one of seven templates or start from scratch.
  • Upload  your own photos or rely on Spark's built-in Creative Commons search.
  • Add your own music or choose one of Spark's 37 options for theme music.
  • Share videos via Facebook, Twitter, or email; embed them using HTML iframe, or export as MP4 files.

Additional Tools

Digital Exhibit Tools
Podcasting Tools


Garage Band for Mac

Timeline Tools



Website Tools





Infographic Creation Tools

Image of Piktochart interface


Piktochart, a user-friendly infographic creation app, helps those without extensive design experience create quality infographics using themed templates, stock icons, data visualizations, interactive maps, YouTube embeds, and customizable color schemes. With the freemium version, you can include up to 40 MB of your own images, share and embed your infographics, or download them in JPG and PNG formats.




Image of Canva infographic design interface


Canva is a free, web-based graphic design tool used for creating professional-grade infographics, posters, invitations, presentations, and blog graphics. The freemium version includes 1GB of storage for photos and assets, access to over 8,000 templates, social sharing and website embed tools, and four download options (JPG, PNG, PDF - STANDARD, & PDF - PRINT).

Featured Timeline Tool - Timeline JS (Knight Lab)

Image of digital map about Nelson Mandela

TimelineJS, a free and open-source tool developed by Knight Lab, is easy to use yet still capable of producing professional-grade results. Users can build visually engaging, interactive timelines using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet, pull in media from a variety of sources (Twitter, Flickr, Google Maps, SoundCloud, and more), and enhance visual interest using text formatting and background color options.



Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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