Steve Anderson Wins ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship for Scalar Project
Steve Anderson, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Practice at the University of Southern California and Co-PI for the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture has been awarded a 2014 ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship for his project Technologies of Cinema: A Critical Digital Archive and Multimodal History of the American Technocultural Imaginary. Technologies of Cinema is an interactive, richly mediated electronic publication and critical media archive designed to model the integration of Scalar and the media archive Critical Commons. The Technologies of Cinema archive will offer a publicly accessible collection of media depicting the evolution of computer technology as seen on American commercial film and TV from the 1950s to the present. “This project merges my interests in technology and culture with thinking about the way history is rendered on film and television,” professor Anderson has said about the project, “Computers were very much a part of the popular imagination going back to the early 1950s, before most people had seen or had direct experience with them. As we move forward in time through an archive of hundreds of clips, we see the evolution of computers from mainframe data processors operated by specialists to being a part of everyday life with PCs, digital games, and mobile devices.”
The Scalar project will be a book-length critical treatment of this history, featuring hundreds of embedded media files and a series of original video essays. The project represents the most ambitious integration of Critical Commons and Scalar yet attempted, providing both an illuminating cultural analysis and model for future scholarship.
Scalar Server Status Update — 20 February 2014
We’d like to thank the Scalar user community for your continued patience as we recover from the server hard drive failure from a few weeks ago. We wish to update you on the effort to recover uploaded media files, offer some new options for authors to replace their missing media, and provide information about the future status of the Scalar server setup.
We have been waiting patiently as a specialized lab attempts to recover the media files on our failed RAID hard drives. The process is still ongoing, and will probably take another week, even to learn how many of the media files can be restored. As soon as we have a resolution, we will restore what files we can. If you have already started replacing missing media in your books, you may continue to do so—we will not overwrite existing files with recovered ones.
Every imported media file still has its associated Scalar media page and metadata intact, even if the media file itself has gone missing. Authors who, for any reason, need to restore their media files ASAP, can do so in one of two ways.
1) To individually replace a small number of missing media files, follow these steps:
a) Visit the file upload page at Main Menu > Import > Local Media Files.
b) You’ll notice a new pulldown menu next to the words “Replace existing”. Select the previously created media page from the alphabetized list.
c) Click “Choose file” and select the replacement media file on your computer.
d) Click “Upload” to upload the media file to the Scalar server. Once the file is uploaded, you will be redirected to the media page with the newly uploaded file displayed, and all of the previous metadata (title, description, etc.) intact.
2) Authors who have a large directory of media files all contained within one folder can use their preferred file hosting service to get that directory to us. Authors should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org before doing so (please do not send zip files or folders directly to this account). The ANVC team will then bulk import the contents of that directory back into the author’s Scalar book.
New Scalar server setup
We have secured a new long-term server environment in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The IT division of USC Dornsife has put together a highly available clustered two-host system designed to continue operating if one host goes offline. This configuration includes the backup of all content (textual and media) from all Scalar books, both on-site and off-site at the Disaster Recovery Center at Arizona State University in Phoenix. The new setup is comparable to state-of-the-art “enterprise” servers, and while no hosting configuration is without risk, this system is designed to reduce that risk to minimal levels. We anticipate completing the move to the new servers within the next few weeks.
Again, thank you for your patience—we will continue to post updates as needed until the transition is complete.
Scalar Server Status Update — 13 February 2014
Last week the Scalar server underwent a disk-imaging procedure, the first and most extensive step in restoring missing data. Data recovery specialists are now midway through the final step: using the disk-images they generated to reassemble data. They expect to finish sometime next week.
Thank you for your continued patience in this matter.