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Map collections and resources: Multimedia storytelling

This library guide will introduce you to Stanford Libraries map collections, services, and related resources.

Multimedia storytelling



Laptop mockup image with StoryMap viewable

Multimedia storytelling brings together text, images, maps, film, and interactive media to tell stories. To help students and instructors bring these kinds of web-based projects into the classroom, we are providing tools and workshops for those who don’t have a deep background in the subject. 

We are happy to work with you or your class to develop digital assignments or to incorporate digital storytelling into the classroom. Storytelling projects can be used in lieu of standard papers or other assignments. Please see below for more information on platforms and resources available to you.


ArcGIS StoryMaps is an excellent online application for easily creating dynamic narratives or presentations. Your StoryMap doesn't need to be about or include maps but we're biased, you should use maps. 

To see what our community has been up to using StoryMaps, visit our Show and Tell section! 


Create: StoryMaps is an online instruction that will walk you through the primary principles for creating StoryMaps. It has been intentionally designed to be approachable for beginners, so if you're new to creating digital maps using geographic information systems (GIS), this a great tutorial for you to get your feet wet. 

Here is a brief look into the skills you will learn by completing the full instruction, the text for which you can access in Create: StoryMaps:

  • Create multi-layer maps in ArcGIS Online (AGO)
  • Configure AGO map pop-ups to include media
  • Utilize Stanford resources to compile StoryMap content
  • Basic principles of storytelling and design

Our StoryMaps

The following StoryMaps have been created by our staff:


undefinedPancakes & Silver: Historical Map Reading, Data Extraction, and 3D Visualization

Esri's 2019 StoryMap of the Year

"This story makes a rather rarified and technical process interesting and understandable in an informal, engaging style. We love the care the authors have taken to add custom graphic elements, and to showcase beautiful period maps. And we admire the integration of 3D mapping into the story. It's a model of how to use story maps in the digital humanities."




 The European Fronts: Digital Engagement with Paper Maps

Stanford University Libraries has a robust digitization program to include paper maps out of copyright. Along with making these maps viewable (and downloadable) for everyone, we love digital projects that enhance the way we look at and learn from historic paper maps. This StoryMap explores several of these digital methods for engaging with digitized paper maps using The European Fronts map series published by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II. 



Mapping the First Transcontinental Railroad

A geospatial commemoration for the 150th anniversary of the first-ever transcontinental railroad. This StoryMap includes a photographic map tour using the Alfred A. Hart photographic collection, highlighted maps of this region and time period, and a look at historical geographic information system (GIS) data depicting railroad growth over time. 



Additional StoryMaps Resources

Below are great resources for creating StoryMaps and/or using them as teaching tools:

Teach with StoryMaps | University of Minnesota

Discover assignment prompts, guidelines for instructors or students, exemplary student work, and other materials to leverage StoryMaps and ArcGIS as a teaching tool.

ArcGIS StoryMaps gallery | Esri

Looking for ideas? You've come to the right place. Discover the latest and greatest content from our storytelling community. See what stories we're loving right now, go behind the scenes with a featured storyteller, or browse top-notch stories on a variety of topics.

ArcGIS StoryMaps blog | Esri

Features blogs and live discussions on StoryMaps design tips and tricks, how others are using StoryMaps, and updates on new features. 

Knight Lab tools

The Knight Lab at Northwestern University has developed a host of storytelling tools that are free and easy to master. They range from timelines to “scrollytelling.” Here are some examples:


        Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

        Revolutionary User Interfaces

StoryMap (not to be confused with Esri's StoryMaps)

        The Garden of Earthly Delights - Hieronymus Bosch



Spotlight is Stanford’s online exhibition platform and covers a wide-array of topics. Spotlight may be best suited to a class-wide project, where the end goal is an online exhibition.