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Thing 39 Digital Storytelling

Page history last edited by Ann WS 14 years, 11 months ago

Thing 39. Digital Storytelling

You may have noticed a lot of Things using photos. The photo tools and services were the most popular in the original 23 Things On a Stick. This Thing introduces two different ways to tell a story using photos.




There is nothing new about the idea of preserving memories in albums. The idea can be traced by to the 1700s when "common-place" books filled with knowledge of all kinds. People continued to collect "scraps" of knowledge along with images, objects, clippings, and more and assembled these, along with journaling or narrative, into a record of their lives and times. We continue to do this today, with scrapbooking being one of the largest hobbies.


Lovers of scrapbooking--combining photos, mementos, and other objects into a book that documents and tells the story of a family or event--have a new way to create, display, and share their creations. And you can forget scissors, glue dots, and tape because digital scrapbooking sites are popping up--many are free or partially free--that offer an array of templates, fancy "paper" for backgrounds, and digital images and text to incorporate with your photos.


Scrapbooking isn't just for baby books and family reunions anymore. Educational uses are becoming more prominent as students are asked to create an illustrated narrative using either physical or digital scrapbook techniques. Here are some articles about educational scrapbooking: 

Academic Scrapbooking: Snapshots of Learning 

Escrapbooking is a site that provides specific examples and strategies for creating electronic, educational, experiential, and engaging scrapbooks."

Literary Scrapbooks Online: An Electronic Reader-Response Project is a lesson plan from ReadWriteThink

Cornell Students' Scrapbooks are annotated cultural scrapbooks describe the lives, insights and experiences of students. Done as part of a class; now in University Library archives.

Scrapbooking by libraries is not new, either. The ALA Archives offers this collection Services from your Public Library Scrapbooks, ca. 1948-1951 The University of Virginia Health Sciences Library has created an engaging online scrapbook for alumni. And of course, libraries collect and preserve other people's scrapbooks, too.


Another tool for online scrapbooking or storytelling is VoiceThread. VoiceThread encourages developing a community around images. A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to leave comments in 5 ways--using voice (with a mic or phone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Users can even doodle on the media as they comment. Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too. This could be a great way for a community to add their reactions to a library event or to add info to historic photos in the libraries collection. This video explains how VoiceThread works.


In this Thing, you are asked to create one page of an online scrapbook that documents a library event or program using an online scrapbooking tool (see below) or VoiceThread. Here are some planning tips:


Choose a theme: Decide on a theme for the scrapbook page.
Collect photos: Gather photos that fit the theme.
Sort the photos: Create separate categories if it makes sense.
Crop the photos: Trim them to fit on the page. Photo editors have tools to crop, resize, etc.
Layout the photos: Arrange the photos on the page.
Embellish: Decorate (digitally) the page
Add descriptive text or quotes: Write a short caption, story, or description about the photos.
Title: Add a headline to your scrapbook page.


If using VoiceThread, consider having some questions for people to answer or other suggestions for commenting.


Everything About Scrapbooking includes a page on Digital Scrapbooking.

Digital Scrapbook Wiki
DigiFree offers resources for digital scrapbooking.
PageMaps has free page layouts.

Free Fonts from Digital Design Essentials


Need Photos?

Don't have or don't want to share personal photos? Try these sources.

*FlickrrCC searches Flickr for Creative Commons Licensed photos you can use in your projects.

Copyright-Friendly Sources

FreeDigitalPhotos-Read Terms of Use for attribution


A list of sources from VirtualHosting 



*Scrapblog-People are raving about this multimedia scrapbook creation tool.

  • Create scrapbooks with video and photos
  • Share online, by email, or post to Web
  • Print ($) hardcover book
  • Video tour

*Smilebox (music warning)

  • Choose from hundreds of scrapbook designs
  • Add your photos, videos, words, and music
  • Email, blog, or print it (various options)

Framento offers a memorial format, among its more typical offerings.

Scrapo offers online scrapbook creator.

Scrapbook Page Generator 


Manipulate Your Photos

Tiltshift makes your photos look like model miniatures.

*Picnik is a photo editor that has many ways to modify your photos.

Splashup photo editing tool.

iPhoto, Picasa, etc. all have editing tools, too.


Watch for a contest for completed scrapbook pages and VoiceThreads. It will be announced in the On a Stick News you will receive starting in February. You must register your blog to receive the newsletter.




  1. If you haven't done so, set up a Flickr account and upload your photos. For faster uploads, install Flickr Uploadr (download). You can use another photohosting service (Picasa, Photobucket, or any of dozens of other ones) if you prefer. You don't need a Flickr account or hosted service; in most of the scrapbooking services you can upload photos individually.
  2. If you need photos, look at the above sites.
  3. Organize your photos into Sets or Albums or whatever your hosting service calls them.
  4. Create a story using one or more of the tools in the Learn section. You can use one of the tools that are part of Flickr or Picasa, too, but we recommend VoiceThread, Scrapblog, or Smilebox.
  5. Embed the scrapbook page in your blog in your blog.



Blog Prompts

  1. Can you see a use for this in your library? At home?
  2. Which of the services did you use? Did it work smoothly?
For the Curious  (optional)
Try more of the tools and share your stories in your blog.










Comments (6)

46thingslibrn said

at 2:01 pm on May 19, 2009

Is VoiceThread "Free" or do we have to pay for a subscription? Looking at their prices, it looks like even the "Basic" account has a fee attached?

Ann WS said

at 9:58 am on May 14, 2009

Here's another digital storytelling tool for making posters http://www.glogster.com/edu/
Use the edu version if you are using it with students--some of the glogs on the main site tend to the racy!

Ann WS said

at 9:55 am on May 14, 2009

Seems to be working now http://www.scrapblog.com/

Linda Wadman said

at 11:48 am on May 13, 2009

Scrapblog is working just fine for me. And I've been getting daily messages about scrapblogs created by friends too. You might want to check your link: http://www.scrapblog.com/

Okey Dokey said

at 9:39 am on May 13, 2009

The Scrapblog link either isn't working or Scrapblog is no more. I loaded my scrapbook last night, as did 2 of my coworkers and cannot get the site today. I typed in the address and that doesn't work either. Do you know anything about what is happening there.

scowrat@gmail.com said

at 10:18 pm on Feb 19, 2009

The Scrapblog link has an extra http:// in the address so link does not work.

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