Reading Project

By Jessica Pressman, Mark C Marino and Jeremy Douglass



Reading Project

About the Platform

ACLS Workbench Tour from Mark Marino on Vimeo.

Take a Tour of ACLS Workbench


Simply put, ACLS Workbench is the platform we wish we had when we were writing this book.

The Platform: ACLS Workbench is a platform for collaborative scholarship -- in particular, collaborative annotation and argumentation around complex, transmedial works, e.g., code and software, new media, electronic literature, and games. 

ACLS Workbench encourages scholars to quickly join collaborative conversations, create templates for courses or workshops, and “clone” existing works to extend them or remix them. 

It is developed as part of the research project “Transmedial Collaboration” by Mark C. Marino, Jessica Pressman, and Jeremy Douglass, with support from the American Council of Learned Societies, University of Southern California, and University of California Santa Barbara. It is developed by Lucas Miller, Craig Dietrich, and Erik Loyer.

The Source: ACLS Workbench is implemented as a set of features and user interfaces that extend the Scalar publishing platform. Scalar is a free, open source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online. Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required. It is developed by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture.

Early Experiments: ACLS Workbench was first publicly tested at the 3rd biannual Critical Code Studies Working Group, organized by Mark C. Marino and Jeremy Douglass and held online from Feb 23-March 23, 2014. The Critical Code Studies Working Group is an international and interdisciplinary scholarly community which explores the intersections of computer source code and its roles in culture. The Working Group hosts a biannual month-long event to showcase collaborative inquiry into the reading and interpretation of code.

First Showcase: ACLS Workbench was showcased by by Jeremy Douglass and Mark C. Marino at THATCamp DHSoCal 2014. The presentation focused on two aspects of the platform: first, the "cloning" and "joining" features and their applications scholarly collaboration, workshops, and pedagogy; second, features of particular interest to digital humanists, such as new forms of annotation and highlighting for text files and source code.

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