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Digital Paxton

 
In 1763 armed settlers in the Paxton Township laid waste to an isolated, unarmed Indian settlement, murdering all its inhabitants, attacked the Lancaster jailhouse where refugees had taken shelter, and vowed to march all the way to Philadelphia. After being stopped in Germantown by a delegation led by Benjamin Franklin, critics and apologists of the “Paxton Boys” –including some of Pennsylvania’s preeminent figures- spent the next year battling in print over the events, and ultimately, over the authority of the colonial government.

The Paxton pamphlet war comprised more than one-fifth of the Pennsylvania colony’s total printed material in 1764. In 1957, historian John Raine Dunbar was the first to create a critical edition of the pamphlet war, The Paxton Papers. But Dunbar’s Papers now suffer from three limitations, according to the creators of a new digital edition: it’s dated, limited in scope, and not easily accessible. The Digital Paxton Project (digitalpaxton.org), a digital archive and critical edition of the pamphlet war composed in Scalar by Library Company Fellow Will Fenton, Doctoral Candidate at Fordham University, and Co-sponsored by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, seeks to move past these limitations.

As a critical archive built in Scalar, Digital Paxton effectively pairs particular forms of scholarly contributions to particular affordances offered by the platform, including contextual entries (via tags), conceptual keyword essays (via paths), and transcriptions and translations of pamphlets (via image annotations). Digital Paxton makes available dozens of political cartoons, manuscripts, broadsides, pamphlets, and German-language translations of pamphlets related to the Paxton incident. Digital Paxton features more than 1600 free, open-source, print-quality (300 dpi) images courtesy of the American Philosophical Society, Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Moravian Archives of Bethlehem. It also makes available contributions from a number of specialists:  Jack Brubaker, Nicole Eustace (NYU), Michael Goode (Utah Valley University), Scott Paul Gordon (Lehigh University), Kevin Kenny (Boston College), Darvin L. Martin, James P. Myers, Jr. (Gettysburg College), and Judith Ridner (Mississippi State University).

A portion of Digital Paxton’s online archive can also be explored in person. If you’re in the Philadelphia area you can stop by Will Fenton’s pop-up exhibition at the Library Company of Philadelphia running from April 5th to May 5th, 2017. The exhibition will showcase more than two-dozen exemplary manuscripts, broadsides, pamphlets, and political cartoons from the Library Company, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, American Philosophical Society, and Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections. You can also access the digital companion to the pop-up exhibition at digitalpaxton.org/exhibition.

Follow Digital Paxton on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Five-day Scalar workshop at HILT

This year’s Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching (HILT) program is now open for registration and features an in-depth, 5-day course on Scalar. HILT is an annual training institute that includes comprehensive courses on Digital Humanities topics, methods, and platforms as well as keynotes, ignite talks, and local cultural heritage excursions. This year HILT will be held from June 5–9 at the very lovely University of Texas at Austin.

The HILT Scalar course, taught by our own Curtis Fletcher, is structured as a 5-day workshop for those who already have a Scalar project in mind and seek comprehensive training in the platform and in-depth support with editorial, technical and design decisions. The workshop will include basic, intermediate and advanced training sessions in Scalar, discussions of readings on multimodal scholarship, and both collaborative white-boarding sessions and one-on-one design meetings devoted to each project. The aim of the workshop is to help participants think through the conceptual, structural and technical aspects of their projects as well as the project’s relation to the emergent field of digital media and scholarship overall.

Leadership in the Ancient World

 

Sunoikisis is a national consortium of Classics programs established in 1999 and formed to foster new collaborative and interdisciplinary paradigms of learning in the liberal arts for the 21st century. One of their current projects, Beyond the Boundaries of Fantasia: An ancient imagining of the future of leadership, is a course on leadership in the ancient world developed in Scalar.

Using the Scalar project as their central text, the course was taught concurrently at seven separate institutions: Howard University, Brandeis University, Tulane University, University of Texas-San Antonio, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Emory University, and the University of Findlay. Weekly sessions on Google Hangouts brought students from all institutions together. They were also free to the public.

The aim of the course is to highlight and learn from modes of leadership in the ancient world by drawing on writing, philosophy, material culture, and historical documents from the period. The course contains fifteen separate modules, each with a broad introduction to its topic; ancient readings and images accompanied by guiding questions and expert commentary; seven hours of independent study activity; suggested group activities; ‘deeper cuts’ into ancient readings and contemporary scholarship; as well as reflection prompts designed to bridge the study of ancient leadership with one’s experience of leadership today.

The syllabus itself resulted from months of collaboration among Classicists from over a dozen institutions, but led by Joel Christensen (Brandeis University), John Esposito (UNC-Chapel Hill), Mallory Monaco Caterine (Tulane University), and Norman Sandridge (Howard University).

Scalar Webinars: Announcing Our Spring 2017 Schedule

The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture will offer another series of free online webinars this fall.

All webinars will feature our new interface, Scalar 2. Our “Introduction to Scalar” webinars will cover basic features of the platform: a review of existing Scalar books and a hands-on introduction to paths, tags, annotations and importing media. Our “Intermediate Scalar” webinars will delve into more advanced topics including the effective use of visualizations, annotating with media and a primer on customizing appearances in Scalar.

Our spring schedule will include four dates:

Introduction to Scalar: January 26, 12-2pm (PST)
Intermediate Scalar: February 23, 12-2pm (PST)
Introduction to Scalar: March 23, 4-6pm (PST)
Intermediate Scalar: April 20, 4-6pm (PST)

Register here.

Announcing Scalar’s Timeline Layout

 

Ever wanted to arrange and display pages in your Scalar project along an interactive timeline? Or paths or tags? Ever wanted to showcase a collection of media chronologically? Or a collection of media annotations? Today, we introduce Scalar’s new Timeline layout which will allow you to do all of this and more.

Powered by Knight Lab’s Timeline.JS, this new layout option will display, in chronological order at the top of a page, any content contained or tagged by that page. Each item on the timeline will also display the thumbnail, title, description, and link for its content when clicked. But as with our Google Map layout one must add appropriate metadata to items arranged in the Timeline layout in order for Scalar to plot them appropriately–namely, every piece of content to be displayed must include dcterms:temporal or dcterms:date in the format month, day, year, hour, minute, second.

If that sounds complicated, it’s really not. But just in case, here’s a step-by-step set of instructions for getting going with our own  Timeline layout.

Figure 1. Metadata tab on Scalar’s page editor.

Step one: Add metadata to content in your Scalar book. Whether you want to add media, pages, paths, tags or annotations to your timeline, the first thing you need to do is navigate to the edit page for each of the items you’d like to include.  Once there, select “Metadata,” in the page editor (see Figure 1), and select “Add additional metadata” from the drop down menu. Then, within the metadata dialogue box that pops up, tick the box next to either “Temporal” or “Date” under “dcterms” and click “Add fields” at the bottom-right of the dialogue box. You should now have a new field under Metadata in the page editor called either  “dcterms:temporal” or “dcterms:date,” depending on which you chose. Now enter either a particular date in the form of MM-DD-YY (e.g. 07-21-88) or, if you like, a particular date and time in the form of MM-DD-YY hh:mma (e.g. 07-21-88 2:59 AM) into that field (see here for all supported formats). You can also enter a date (and time) range in the form of MM/DD/YY hh:mma-MM/DD/YY hh:mma (e.g. 07/21/88 2:59 AM-07/22/88 3:31 PM).

Figure 2. Timeline layout using a tag structure.
Click on graph to enlarge.

Step two: Add descriptions and thumbnails to content in your Scalar book (optional). Our Timeline layout will also display an item’s description and associated thumbnail. To add a description to an item, simply enter your text into the description field just under the page’s title in the page editor. To add a thumbnail click on “Styling” and choose “Thumbnail” from the dropdown menu. Then select an image from your media library or enter a url for the image’s location on the Web.

Figure 3. Timeline layout using a path structure.
Click on graph to enlarge.

Step three: Gather your content. Once you’ve added temporal metadata to the items you’d like displayed in your timeline, create a new page (or alternatively, use an existing page) and either tag those items to that page (Figure 2) or add them to the page as a path (Figure 3).

Step four: Select the Timeline layout. Finally, set the current page to the Timeline layout via the drop-down menu under “Layout.”

That’s it! You’re done.

We hope you like this new feature, and as always, we’re really excited to see what you all do with it. Let us know what you think, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Announcing our new Scalar Trailer

Our new Scalar trailer is finished and up at its permanent home over on our Features page. This video highlights the updated features and functionality of our latest interface, Scalar 2.

We’d like to thank the following users who allowed us to showcase their exceptional projects, and more specifically, their compelling uses of Scalar, as part of this video.

 

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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.