Take Scalar 2 for a Spin!
Scalar 2, with its redesigned reader interface, is nearly ready for launch—but if you’d like to try it out now, you don’t have to wait any longer. In order to get additional feedback as we put the finishing touches on the release, we’re making it possible for you to switch any of your Scalar books over to the new interface now.
You can start with a clean slate by creating a new book, heading to the “Book properties” tab in your Scalar Dashboard, and selecting “Scalar 2” under “Interface.” Existing books authored in Scalar 1 can be moved to the new interface as well; just make sure to check our list of considerations before making the switch.
The new interface has been completely rebuilt to give your books greater visual impact while making them easier to read, navigate, and edit. Among our new features: an interactive main menu; more robust visualizations; new ways to add media to pages; a new page editor and many more page layouts. For a full list of new features, see the section Scalar 2: What’s New? in our User’s Guide.
Interactive Table of Contents
An interactive table of contents now allows readers to browse the overall structure of a book without ever leaving the current page. Accessed from the top left corner of the header, readers can click on an item’s right arrow to reveal its related content (paths, tags, comments, or annotations). It’s a great way to “walk” through a book’s paths and sub-paths to get a better sense of their contents.
New Page Layouts
To increase the readability and versatility of Scalar books, we’ve added a number of new layout options to the new interface, including image headers, splash pages, media galleries, maps, and other features. The new Google Map layout, for instance, plots the current page plus any geotagged content it contains or tags on a map embedded at the top of the page. A new "Structured Media Gallery" view organizes media from multiple paths into groups of thumbnails which display their media when clicked.
|Image Header Layout||Structured Media Gallery Layout||Google Map Layout|
Optimized for Mobile Devices
Scalar’s new interface has been optimized for reading on tablets and smartphones. Media on smaller screens is now scaled to full width in a compact layout that’s easy to scroll through. What’s more, tablet and mobile readers can now take advantage of the new interactive table of contents to browse the structure of a book while remaining on the current page. Finally, the updated, streamlined page editor now brings Scalar authoring to mobile platforms as well.
To see Scalar 2 in action, check out these books:
Once you’ve had a chance to try out Scalar 2, we’d love to hear your feedback on what you like and where we can improve. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. And enjoy!
ANVC Receives NEH Digital Humanities Implementation Grant
We are proud to announce that The Alliance for Networking Visual has been awarded a Digital Humanities Implementation Grant from the Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This grant will fund the Alliance, in partnership with Critical Commons, Hypothes.is, and the University of California Press, for a two-year project to implement workflow features into Scalar aimed at further facilitating the publication of multimedia digital works within both established and emerging publishing genres.
With this grant we plan to integrate directly into the Scalar environment a suite of editorial, review and copyediting tools necessary for edited and peer-reviewed publications; the enhanced integration of Scalar with our partner media archive Critical Commons to create a reliable and easy-to-use system for uploading and embedding image files and video clips while maximizing the protections of fair use for scholars and publishers; and continued improvements of our authoring environment to better leverage the enhanced features and look of our soon-to-be released reader interface towards scalable yet customizable publications.
We’d like to thank everyone at the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities for their generous support and for the opportunity to develop Scalar to these ends.
Scalar Up Close: Visualizations
Scalar | Index Visualization
Scalar gives authors the tools to create essay- and book-length works in ways that take advantage of the unique capabilities of digital writing, including nested, recursive, and non-linear structures. For this reason, the platform includes built-in visualizations to help both authors and readers navigate those structures.
Scalar's visualizations enable one to see the contents of a book rendered in multiple ways. Each visualization can be made the default view for a page, making it possible to integrate visualizations directly into your book. For authors working with book-level structures that may not be immediately apparent at the page level, a visualization is a good way to help readers conceptualize the "shape" of their content.
For example, the index visualization shown above displays all content in the book in a grid format where each square represents one piece of content. Content is color-coded by type. Most importantly, links between content are displayed on roll-over. Rolling over the square for a path will reveal all the contents of that path; rolling over the square for a tag will show all the items it tags. What’s more clicking a content element selects it, keeping its relationships visible even when rolling over other content, allowing multiple sets of relationships to be viewed simultaneously. As with all visualizations in Scalar, double-clicking a title opens the associated content.
Thus, visualizations act not just as way for authors and readers to identify and understand the macro- and micro-structures of a book, but as a way to navigate those structures. The tag visualization (shown to the right) can be an effective tool in this regard. In general, structure, in Scalar becomes especially powerful when it's used not just as a way to organize content, but as a way to model theoretical relationships. For example, let's say you're writing about three characters in a movie and the types of shots the director uses to frame them. While in a traditional book you would typically expound on those relationships in prose, in Scalar you could create a page for each character, a page for each shot type, and then tag the characters with the shot types. In Scalar, those connections become navigable pathways within your book and the tag visualization itself acts as an auto-generated interactive diagram of the relationships between the characters and shot types.