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New in your Dashboard: Scalar Importer/Exporter!

Next time you’re logged in to Scalar, head over to the new Import/Export tab in the Dashboard. Once, there, you’ll find our newest addition to Scalar’s content management system: the new tab allows users to import, export and backup all pages and relationships in a Scalar book with ease.

The Export area allows users to create a single output of all pages and relationships in your Scalar book as an RDF file in either JSON or XML format. This file can be saved as a backup for future use, or for importing into another RDF-aware system. You can even feed the RDF-JSON file back into the Import area at a later date to re-create the book’s content.

In the Import area you can pull all pages and relationships from another public book using its URL. Simply grab the URL of the source book and place it into the form--Scalar will do the rest (with a few considerations; see Support Notes in the Import/Export tab for a list of attributes which will not transfer).

You can also import snippets of a Scalar book. For example, you may wish to import just a single path and its pages from a source book. Or, only the media. Any content type can be acquired by visiting our tool for this task, the API Explorer. Its friendly interface allows you to easily generate the appropriate RDF-JSON output by selecting the portion of a Scalar book you'd like to export and clicking “Get API Results.” For instance, if you'd like to only export the contents of one path within a book, simply insert the url for that path into the appropriate field in the API Explorer (be sure to set "Return related content with up to 1 degree(s) of separation") and click "Get API Results." Finally, cut-and-paste the resulting RDF-JSON into the “Paste RDF” tab of the Dashboard’s Import area.

(API Explorer link:

Complex Television

Jason Mittell, Professor of Film & Media Culture and American Studies at Middlebury College, has written a fascinating new book, Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (NYU Press). “Over the past two decades, new technologies, changing viewer practices, and the proliferation of genres and channels has transformed American television,” Mittell writes, “One of the most notable impacts of these shifts is the emergence of highly complex and elaborate forms of serial narrative, resulting in a robust period of formal experimentation and risky programming.”

Complex TV sets out to analyze the “poetics” of these complex narratives by unpacking, in great detail, the intricacies of scenes in The Wire, Lost, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, The West Wing, Dexter, and Mad Men, to name just a few. As a television and media scholar Mittell has grown accustomed to the constraints of print culture in performing this analytic task—of having to continuously examine and interpret audio-visual material to which the reader has no direct access while on the printed page.

As a result, Mittell has done what more and more media scholars are doing, especially in collaboration with the Alliance’s partner presses: He has built a companion in Scalar comprised of the audio-visual material cited in the print version of Complex TV along with the original analysis of that material. Mittell has created a stunning companion in the process, one which offers readers multiple pathways through a rich series of high quality video clips from more than three dozen, mostly contemporary, TV shows.

In constructing the companion Mittell also took advantage of the fair use protection offered by our partner archive Critical Commons for the copyrighted material he used (see more about Critical Commons fair use advocacy). Critical Commons is an open access media archive developed specifically to facilitate the scholarly quotation of media sources as allowed by the fair use statute in U.S. Copyright law (Section 107).

See Mittell's Scalar companion to Complex TV.

Installing Scalar on your own domain just got easier.

Ever wanted to install Scalar on your own domain but didn’t think you could navigate GitHub much less properly configure .htaccess?

Reclaim Hosting just made it easier by adding Scalar to their roster of one-click installs for domains hosted with their service. As a user of Reclaim Hosting you can register a domain (e.g. while purchasing a hosting package for as little as $25 a year, and now, once inside the dashboard of your brand new website, click “Scalar” under Featured Applications. Voilà…your own Scalar publishing platform on your own domain.

Reclaim Hosting’s mission is to provide educators and institutions with easy access to domains and web hosting, so that they can, in turn, offer their students an affordable way to “take control of [their] digital identity.” Alongside Scalar, Reclaim offers automated installs for Omeka, Moodle, MediaWiki, and others.

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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.