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Training available on Scalar, a free, online publishing platform aligned with the Semantic Web

Interested in a new open-source and free, hosted publishing platform with a wide reach?  Scalar has been setting the humanities world on fire with its smartly designed capabilities.

Faculty/staff who are interested in learning how to use this tool should email shalin@k-state.edu to request training.

Some highlights:

  • Scalar integrates a wide range of multimedia, including imagery, audio, video, and other elements.  These contents may be self-created and hosted on content-sharing sites and then embedded in Scalar projects.  (Images under 2 MB may be directly uploaded into the project. Larger images may be hosted on content-sharing sites like Internet Archive.)
  • Scalar enables the integration of multimedia in various branching paths, in its articles, books, and projects.  It has built-in data visualization tools (network-based, radial, and other diagrams) to view and navigate the Scalar project.
  • All contents (everything is treated as a “page”) in the Scalar project are textually annotatable.  All contents are treated as equal and non-hierarchical. All content is relational, through embedding in particular pages, metadata, and sequential and navigable paths.
  • The design of Scalar is as a semantic web authoring tool, which enables the creation of a web of data (with meaning creating relationally and through metadata).
  • Multiple individuals may sign in to edit one project.
  • Scalar has a range of features.

The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture (ANVC) has created this tool to promote born-digital scholarship by linking scholars with digital repository information to enable new forms of analysis and publication.  To this end, Scalar enables the embedding of contents from various online archives, such as the Critical Commons, the Internet Archive, Shoah Foundation Institute, and Hemispheric Institute’s Digital Video Library. The idea behind this platform is “to close the gap between carefully created digital visual archives and scholarly publication by enabling scholars to work more organically with archival materials, creating interpretive pathways through materials and enabling new forms of analysis.”   The Scalar endeavor includes ties to a number of university presses and libraries.

There are other alliances in the works.  A number of third-party applications are available to add value to the contents.

For their fall schedule, live two-hour webinars are available at both introduction and intermediate levels (beginning August 21 and running through November 20).  There are archived webinars at the advanced levels.  Access the Scalar online user’s guide here.

There is a repository of books available in their Showcase.  One sample e-book with contributions by K-State faculty and staff, “The Art of Academic Peer Reviewing,” is available.

There is a hosted version of Scalar on University of Southern California (USC) servers.  Those who are interested in hosting their own version on their own servers may access the code in GitHub.

The development team at the ANVC are highly responsive to queries.  Scalar is made possible by a range of supporters, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The platform itself is robust and error-resistant.