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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Scalar: An Introduction: Using Media

This is a short introductory guide to using the Scalar publishing platform.

Using Media in Scalar

All the media in your Scalar book is added by linking out to media objects from the pages you create. When Scalar displays your page, it takes the links that you have added and turns them into media players allowing your users access.

Steps to using Media:

  1. Import the media you want to use
  2. Create the page you want to use it on
  3. Link the media to that page

Advanced Media Topics

Have More Questions?

Have more questions? Contact Scholarly Communication and Publishing at scpub@library.illinois.edu for more information and guidance or visit our website. 

Scholarly Communication and Publishing

Media Tools

When you go to create a new page, the text editor has a number of tools dedicated to working with media in Scalar. These are found at the top right of the editor.

Insert Scalar Media Link The Insert Scalar Media Link button creates a hyperlink to the media object and displays it on the page. 

Insert Inline Scalar Media Link  The Insert Inline Scalar Media Link button inserts an inline citation to a media file that will be embedded at the selected location on the page.

Insert Scalar Note  The Insert Scalar Note button inserts a "note-style" (similar to footnotes) link to Scalar content. This button will produce a link that, when rolled over, will produce a small pop-up window preview of the linked content.

Insert Link to Another Scalar Page The Insert Link to Another Scalar Page button inserts a link to Scalar content. No media will be embedded on the page, but when rolled over, a title and the description of the content will be displayed.This is different from ordinary linking because Scalar links content like a database. Ordinary linking will not allow you to build widgets, visualizations, and use Scalar's other features with your linked content. 

The Insert External Link button will add a typical hyperlink to external content by using the URL you insert. The Insert External Link button will add a typical hyperlink to external content by using the URL you insert. 

 

Developing a Media Strategy

While media is a particularly important part of Scalar, it can also be a tricky element to navigate. Scalar suggests that you keep in mind a few questions as you decide the role media will play in the message of your book.

"What do I have?

Consider the source of your media as well as the description you will use to describe the media. This includes thinking about the metadata you will want to use in conjunction with the metadata that Scalar already supplies.

"How will I use it?" 

Develop a plan that will help you decide how each media element will be used in your book. Or, at least decide where the media should be placed in your book to best serve your message. consider the ways in which your media will be supplemented or how it will be connected to other media in your book.

"Where will I use it?"

 Develop a plan that will help you decide how each media element will be used in your book. At least decide where the media will be placed in your book to best serve your message. Consider the ways in which your media will be supplemental and/or how it will be connected to other media in your book.

"Where do I put it?"

Having a plan about media location will be an important step in creating a comprehensive structure for your Scalar book. Creating a general page layout before you begin adding media will help you to determine the ways in which your readers will be interacting with each media element as they navigate each page of your book. Things to consider include: file sizes, if you will have downloadable or streaming data, the number of media players you will have on each page, and what annotations (possible metadata) you intend to attach to the media.

"What formats should I use?"

  • Images - GIF, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF
  • Audio - MPEG-3, WAV, AIFF, and, OGG
  • Video - MPEG-4, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, M4V, QuickTime, WebM, 3GPP, FLV, and OGG
  • Documents -  HTML, PDF, and PlainText

 (For a more detailed layout of media compatibility in each browser check out the "What Formats Should I Use?" section in the Scalar User's Guide.)

**Note: A best practice when working with media is to test its functionality in each browser. This will eliminate the possibility that your users could receive an error message when trying to access the media in your book.