Digital Publishing With Scalar

scalar-logoThis week’s Digital Pedagogy workshop, “Digital Publishing with Scalar,” will occur Tuesday, October 6, from 4:30–5:30 pm, with a repeat on Wednesday, October 7, from 11:00 am–noon. The location is the library computer lab (Abell 208).

This week we explore Scalar, a new web-based digital publishing platform. Several instructors here at AC are experimenting with Scalar this semester, including Nate Bigelow and Mike Fairley in their CI classes, Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan in Introduction to Buddhism, and Dave Griffith in an upper–level marketing course. Like WordPress, Scalar is a free open-source application that is server-based and that facilitates the creation of multimedia content and projects on the web. While there are significant similarities between the two, Scalar is particularly suited for the production of free-standing long-form projects that incorporate large amounts of rich media (images, video, audio, maps, timelines, etc.) within the format of a “book,” though a book reconceived in a native-digital format. As the trailer below states, Scalar projects might be thought of as a cross between an e-book and a website:


Among the features highlighted by early users of Scalar are the following:

  • Well-suited for group assignments, in which students work together to produce a single, collaborative deliverable. All versions of a project are preserved, and every user contribution is tracked.
  • Incorporates full commenting and annotation functionality on all forms of media
  • Operates with a “flattened hierarchy,” in which all forms of content (pages, media, comments, annotations, tags, paths) have an equal status and can be interrelated in structures designed by the author.
  • Allows a variety of page layouts and customizable styling options
  • Full control of project accessibility, from private to restricted to fully public.
  • There are agreements with several major digital archives (the Internet Archive, Critical Commons, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and others) that allow Scalar to easily incorporate digitized materials into projects with full permission for fair use.
  • Material may also be easily imported from other Internet repositories and file storage sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and SoundCloud, as well as local sources.

You can see some examples of Scalar projects at this showcase gallery. While none of the projects at Austin College are in public mode yet, you can begin to experiment with Scalar if you wish by creating an account at Come to the workshop, and we’ll walk through some of the basics together.

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