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Research Guides

StoryMap JS

Video Instruction

To go with this guide, we've put together a video to take you through setting up your StoryMap JS. Different people learn different ways and we recommend that you use and refer back to both the text and video as you work on your project. 

Starting a StoryMap

link to StoryMap JS at the Knight Lab

To create a new StoryMap: 

  • Go to StoryMap JS
  • Select "Make a StoryMap"
  • Sign in with your Wellesley College student Google login
  • Pick a name for your StoryMap (you can rename it later, so you might start with "Travel History" and your last name)

We recommend collecting all your sources before you create your StoryMap JS. However, if this isn't possible, you can always return to edit your existing storymap.

Save as you go!

Storymaps does not auto-save. Be sure to click the Save button at the top of the page as you make changes. 

StoryMap Slides

Content Slides

The majority of slides in your storymap will be content slides.  Each content slide represents a single location or point in your project. 

Content slides should each include a location, their own piece of media (be it image, letter, or otherwise), the appropriate attribution, and text explaining to the reader how they should understand your chosen object. 

For more information about adding content to these slides, see the Media and Text sections below. 

Title Slide

The title slide contains all the same fields as your content slides for the insert. However, your content insert is accompanied by a map containing all the points from your content slides. 

On this slide, the headline will be the title for your entire map, and the text description will be an introduction of sorts to the rest of your presentation. 

You won't be able to change the position of the title slide or change a content slide to become the title slide. 

StoryMap Slides: Location

Enter the content slide's location in the text box at the bottom of the map portion.

If you're having trouble seeing the location box, you can use Edit > Find and type in "Search for a location" the text in the box will highlight making it easier to see. 

Type in a the name of a city, a landmark, or a street address in the location box.

If you don't find what you're looking for, remember the map is using items from a conventional travel map. You may need to find latitude and longitude or another site close by. 

StoryMap Slides: Media

undefinedTo properly include your media (the digital facsimile of the painting, letter, or other documents you selected), you need to: 

  1. Insert the media (either as an upload or using a link directly to the digital facsimile).
  2. Include a credit to the institution holding the document.
  3. Use the caption to include the alt text and the appropriate full note citation for the document.

Including well written alt text in the caption is vital for accessibility, but it also helps everyone understand the context and purpose for your image.  

The citation acknowledges who created the text and how the reader can find it. It's important to provide that information following an established standard in order to 1) ensure you have all relevant information and 2) make it easier for the reader to engage the material. You can visit Wellesley College Libraries' Citing Sources Guide for writing those citations or you can talk to a librarian.

StoryMap Slides: Text

The text is where you need to explain how your chosen documents connect to your chosen theme. Here, you need both a headline (1) and text (2). 

  1. The headline should encapsulate what you want your reader to understand about your chosen media (e.g., Tulips in 19th century Amsterdam)
  2. The text should build on the title, explaining what your chosen media says about your theme. 

Working with that text box, you can format your text or add links using the buttons located above the text bar.

  1. The "B" puts your text in bold. If you use HTML, that would be the <strong> tag. 
  2. The "I" puts your text in italics. Using HTML, that would be the <em> for 'emboss.'
  3. Click the "</>" button if you want to use HTML to code your text. 
  4. The chain icon symbolizes a link. The button is to add a hyperlink to your text. 

StoryMap Options


To open the StoryMap JS options, click the "Options" (decorative) button on the upper-left of the screen next to "save" (decorative). This is where you can manipulate your language and font. More importantly, this is also where you can:

  1. Set the proportions of your StoryMap for your final presentation.
  2. Set the background to cartography or image. 
    • Cartography: StoryMapJS draws lines to connect your map location markers 
    • Image: only the location markers appear. 
  3. Choose to rename the "call to action" button to fit your specific project.
    • The call to action is the text button on the title slide which prompts your visitor to move on to the content slides. By default, the text says "Start Exploring"
  4. Change the background map type or use a custom map/image relevant to your work (which might dictate what you do with 2). 

We recommend you play with these options as you assemble your content. 

Change your basemap (optional)

To change the map in the background of your project:

  1. Click on "Options" in the upper-right side of your browser window.
  2. Decide whether you want to treat the background as cartography (a map) or an image. 
  3. Decide if you want to leave your "call to action" with the default or stylize it to your preference. 
  4. Look through the basemap types -or- choose from the last four options to highly specialize your project.
    • If you customize your basemap, we recommend you choose "custom" and select from the georeferenced maps with the David Rumsey Collection. Georeferenced maps are already set up to work with programs like StoryMap JS and easy to plugin.
      1. To do so, pick your map in the Rumsey collection.
      2. Make sure you are looking at "This Map" and not just a preview.
      3. Look for the "Use in GIS apps" information and click "Get Links."
      4. Copy the "XYZ link" under "custom" in StoryMap JS.
  5. Click "Close" to save your changes.

Edit an Existing StoryMap

You may not be able to complete your StoryMap in a single sitting. Even if you do, you will likely return to review your project for revisions and want to correct mistakes. 

  • Go to StoryMap JS
  • Select "Make a StoryMap"
  • If prompted, Sign in with your Wellesley College student Google login
  • Click on the title of the StoryMap you would like to edit. 
  • All the slides should load.

Remember to Save as you make changes. 

Share your project

When you've finished your project, you will want to publish it. There are a couple ways to do this--but this guide will focus on the easiest. 

  1. While on the "Edit" tab, look at the upper right side of your browser window.empty
  2. Click "Share" (undefined).
  3. Click once in the Link field. The entire URL address for your storymap should be selected. 
  4. Copy the link using Cmd+c (Mac) or Ctrl+c (Windows)
  5. Paste the link in an email or document or other place as specified by your professor. 
  6. We recommend you test the link before submitting your project. 



The Wellesley College Research & Instruction Team would like to thank the Boston College library team and Dr. Bee Lehman, Senior Liaison Librarian for History at Boston College, for agreeing to let us reuse and share their excellent resources.