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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,, 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.

For more, see the section on Visualizations in our User's Guide.

Scalar Workshop at The University of Washington's Simpson Center for the Humanities

Seminar Room | Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities

Craig Dietrich and Curtis Fletcher from the ANVC team headed back up to the University of Washington for another summer Scalar workshop at the Simpson Center for the Humanities.

The Simpsons Center continues, as last summer, in its generous support of students and faculty constructing born-digital research projects, and in particular, of projects designed to be either partially or fully realized in Scalar. In Seattle, we once again found graduate students and faculty at the Simpson Center engaged in thoughtful and imaginative digital scholarship. Our one-day workshop included an intermediate Scalar seminar, individual design meetings with project leaders and lively discussion about computational platforms and the speculative nature of the humanities.

Many thanks to Kathleen Woodward and everyone else for having us!

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The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture

The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture was created with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.