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Scalar is a open source, web-based publishing software from the University of Southern California's Alliance for Networking Visual Culture that allows you to create networked, multi-media online publications.
Scalar's unique structure is based on a non-linear format that allows for flexible interactivity in the author's construction of each page. This research guide will show you how to begin building a Scalar "book' and how to best use its features to create an online platform for your project research.
If you are an affiliate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and have further questions, please contact Dan Tracy, Head of Scholarly Communication and Publishing, at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Scholarly Communication and Publishing staff at email@example.com.
What Version Should I Use?
Scalar offers both public installation and free installation on a local server.
The public install requires no web design skills or technical knowledge. As uploads are limited to 2M, projects requiring a great deal of storage, drawing heavily from digital collections, and seeking publication should consider a local install. But if you’re new to Scalar, working on a smaller project, or using Scalar for classroom instruction, we recommend the public install.
Best for those who run an independent site on their own servers, a local installation offers more storage space and customization. Scalar makes its code freely available on GitHub and periodically releases updates.
The Illinois Open Publishing Network (IOPN) provides access to a local install for those interested in creating a scholarly publication in Scalar with more formal vetting and commitment to preservation. Those who work with IOPN develop and author agreement with the library and a publication timeline. Submit a publication consultation request form
The reader interface affects the look and feel of your Scalar book as well as the functionality. The old reader interface can still be used, but it is not recommended.
Bodies and Structures by David Ambaras and Kate McDonald
Bodies and Structures explores the spatial histories of Japan, its empire, and the larger worlds of which they were apart. Beginning with the premise that space and place are fundamental to humanistic inquiry, Bodies and Structures builds an exhibit framework that mirrors the content. The creative use of Scalar’s flexible structure provides readers with four main entry points: a list of topical modules, a tag index, a grid visualization, and a geotagged map.
Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection by Amardeep Singh
Amardeep Singh and Ed Whitley’s exhibit uses Scalar's built-in visualizations to show the relationships between the poems McKay published from his early years in Jamaica through 1922 that might not otherwise be apparent. Each poem has been tagged, resulting in thematic clusters. Singh also uses simple custom coding for clean page layouts and navigation.
Publishing Without Walls Catalog
Publishing Without Walls (PWW) is an imprint of the Illinois Open Publishing Network at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The PWW project initiative is funded by a four-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The University of Illinois Library leads PWW in partnership with the School of Information Sciences, the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, and the African American Studies Department.
Scalar: Writing Digital Scholarship with Curtis Fletcher
In this Presentation Fletcher discusses his experience working on Scalar, an open source authoring and publishing platform designed for media-rich, born-digital scholarship. Highlighting specific Scalar projects, broader use cases, and ongoing development, he discusses the ways in which the platform’s affordances attempt to move digital scholarly publishing beyond the linear ePub; how emerging scholarly workflows and practices for creating media-rich, archive-connected, scholarship have evolved alongside those affordances; and how the platform’s design relates to broader trends in digital scholarship and the digital humanities.
Publish with Us
The Illinois Open Publishing Network is interested in open access digital publications. If you're a scholar at the University of Illinois or elsewhere who is interested in developing a formal publication with the Illinois Open Publishing Network, fill out our consultation form online.