Knight Lab Storytelling Suite

What is it?

Northwestern University’s Knight Lab provides a suite of free, easy-to-use tools to create multimedia-rich content.

Why use it?

These open-source digital media tools enable faculty and students to utilize data and other information to tell stories more effectively through maps, timelines, images, and sound. They provide opportunities for more student-centered assignments that help foster digital agency, moving them from being content consumers to knowledge producers.

*Note: Knight Lab tools are designed to be used with Google tools, such as Sheets and Slides.

Students might represent their learning using Knight Lab tools in the following ways:

  • Merging key points of their learning with location
  • Generating a timeline of critical events
  • Utilizing before and after images to highlight changes over time
  • Creating web viewable narratives from panoramic images or VR-ready photos
  • Making connections by annotating interactive line charts

Available Storytelling Tools

We have more demos under construction, so please check back soon!

TimelineJS 

Build visually rich, interactive timelines from a spreadsheet.

Uses:

  • Create a detailed timeline of events
  • Highlight life events of unique individuals

Get started with TimelineJS.

StorymapJS 

Tell stories by highlighting locations on a web-based map.

Uses: 

  • Show movements and progressions over time 
  • Highlight locations of interest

The following example shows some locations and stories critical to the California Goldrush. 

To see another example of StoryMapJS, check out our About Us page. 

Get started with StorymapJS.

StorylineJS 

Construct annotated and interactive line charts from spreadsheet information. 

Uses: 

  • Easily show quantitative changes over time 
  • See the effects of historical events through data 

In the following example, a line chart shows the yearly Dow Jones Industrial average alongside key points in history. 

Get started with StorylineJS.

SoundciteJS

Add in-line audio to written text.

Uses:

  • Hear sound clips of quoted speakers
  • Listen to recorded sounds of the past come to life 

Get started with SoundciteJS.

JuxtaposeJS

Create interactive image comparisons.

Uses:

  • Compare and contrast then-and-now images 
  • Visually see changes over time

Below you will find then-and-now images of a Pomona College mainstay: Carnegie.

Get started with JuxtaposeJS

SceneVR

Turn panoramic and VR-ready images into a web-based narrative slideshow.  

Uses: 

  • Allow viewers to engage with any location through captured images and written narrative  
  • Navigate panoramic and VR-ready images without special equipment  

Get started with SceneVR.  

How do I get help?

ITS Staff is available to answer your questions and meet you for a consultation and/or group training. We can help brainstorm ideas for using Knight Lab tools in your teaching based on your specific needs and discipline.  

Support Resources 

Browse through the Knight Lab support resources to help answer your question(s).