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Stony Brook University

Scalar: An Introduction

Using the Scalar publishing platform.

Media in Scalar

Media is an integral part of Scalar.  Images, audio, and videos are all supported in Scalar and adding these various types of media to your page is done through links. You simply select the text you want to associate with the media and attach it. Scalar does not use embedded code like you would use when adding media, like a YouTube video, to a blog post. The media you see in Scalar is not housed in Scalar. Instead, Scalar imports and stores the metadata associated with that media. As an author, you can upload your own media, but only if it does not exceed 2MB. If your media files are housed on your private server you can simply link those files in your Scalar book. Scalar is affiliated with various media sources such as Critical Commons, Play! (Participatory Learning and You), Hypercities, Internet Archive, USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, Cuban Theater Digital Archive and Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL). Other possible Scalar accessible media outlets (NON-AFFILIATED) Prezi, SoundCloud, Vimeo, and YouTube. Also, media can be imported from other Scalar books that to which you have author access. **Note: Be careful of "link-rot" when relying on websites not directly affiliated with Scalar.

Uploading Content

Adding Text - Each page has a space for a (required) unique title and an optional description. Below the title and description, is a text editor. Adding body text is a process that is similar to adding content to a blog post. You can add text in HTML mode or in Visual mode. Pasting text into the text box can produce unpredictable results. Pasting text can create styling issues that will slow down the functionality of your book. It is best to add styling such as italics and bold lettering after you have typed your text into the text box. If you do have text in your book with unwanted styling, you can remove it in Visual mode by clicking the red "X" button at the top right of the text editor.

Scalar Display Options: Single Column = text only, Text Emphasis = dedicates most of the page to text, Media Emphasis = dedicates most of the page to media, and Split Emphasis = dedicates the page to a balance of text and media


Adding Media - All of the media in your Scalar book is added via links. This is done by selecting a bit of relevent text and then attaching the media you wish to reference. When Scalar displays your page, it takes the links that you have added and turns them into media players allowing your users access.

    To add a link - Select the relevent bit of text and then use one of the blue media buttons at the top of the Visual text editor.

    This button inserts links to media that has already been uploaded to Scalar. (Most frequently used link.)

    This button inserts links to media annotations. This means that the media will be cued to play a paticular portion of the media.

    This button inserts an inline citation to a media file that will be embedded at the selected location on the page.

    This button inserts a cued inline citation to a media file that will be embedded at the selected location on the page.

    This button inserts a "note-style" (similar to footnotes) link to Scalar content. This button will produce a link that, when rolled over, will produce a small pop-up window preview of the linked content.

    This button inserts a link to Scalar content. No media will be embedded on the page, but when rolled over, a title and the description of the content will be displayed.

    This button will add a typical hyperlink to your Scalar page by using the URL you insert.

While media is a particulary important part of Scalar, it can also be a tricky element to navigate. Scalar suggests that you keep in mind a few questions as you decide the role media will play in the message of your book.

"What do I have?" - Consider the source of your media as well as the description you will use to describe the media. This includes thinking about the metadata you will want to use in conjunction with the metadata that Scalar already supplies.

"How will I use it?" - Develop a plan that will help you decide how each media element will be used in your book. Or, at least decide where the media should be placed in your book to best serve your message. consider the ways in which your media will be supplemented or how it will be connected to other media in your book.

"Where will I use it?" - Develop a plan that will help you decide how each media element will be used in your book. At least decide where the media will be placed in your book to best serve your message. Consider the ways in which your media will be supplemental and/or how it will be connected to other media in your book.

"Where do I put it?" - Having a plan about media location will be an important step in creating a comprehensive structure for your Scalar book. Creating a general page layout before you begin adding media will help you to determine the ways in which your readers will be interacting with each media element as they navigate each page of your book. Things to consider include: file sizes, if you will have downloadable or streaming data, the number of media players you will have on each page, and what annotations (possible metadata) you intend to attach to the media.

"What formats should I use?" -

    Images = GIF, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF

    Audio = MPEG-3, WAV, AIFF, and, OGG

    Video = MPEG-4, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, M4V, QuickTime, WebM, 3GPP, FLV, and OGG

    Documents = HTML, PDF, and PlainText

    (For a more detailed layout of media compatibility in each browser check out the "What Formats Should I Use?" section in the Scalar User's Guide.)

**Note: A best practice when working with media is to test its functionality in each browser. This will eliminate the possibility that your users could receive an error message when trying to access the media in your book.

Content in Linked Archives

Scalar has an official relationship with certain online archives. These archives are called "affiliate" or "partner" archives. These sites allow you to link the content in their collections directly to your Scalar book. All you need to do is create an account with any of the affiliated archives listed below.

To import media from these archives, you can navigate to your Dashboard and click on the Media tab. Just below the tab, you will find hyperlinks associated with each affiliated archive. Alternately, when you are editing a page, you can click Menu on the left side of the screen and a drop-down menu will appear. From that window, select Affiliated Archives and then click the name of the archive you wish to browse. The importer for your desirerd archive will appear and allow you to browse the archive. You can preview individual files by selecting Preview, on the right. You can select more than one media file at a time by clicking their associated check boxes and then by clicking Import Selected Media.

Affiliated Archives

This site is a "YouTube for scholars."
**Note: It is best to wait 30 minutes before trying to import media that has recently been uploaded to Creative Commons.

This is a community repository for Cuban theater and performance research, teaching, and learning materials.

This is a non-profit digital library that provides access to various collections of digitized materials. i.e. websites, music, moving images, and books

In this archive, you will find a combination of little-known cultural documents from small archives that have been inaccessible to scholars and researchers.

**Note: this media cannot be view on iOS devices at this time

This archive allows you to travel back in time and view layers of city spaces in an "interactive, hypermedia environment."
**Note: this media cannot be view on iOS devices at this time

  • PLAY! (Participatory Learning and You)

This archive is a collaboration of K-12 teachers and students in the RFK Community Schools in downtown L.A. You can access interactive exercises through this archive.

This archive, established by Steven Spielberg in 1994, is home to a collection of 52,000 oral testimonies of Holocaust survivors. This site has been made available to the public, however if you want to import clips from the larger collection, you must be on the partner site and you must choose the Shoah Foundation VHA Online (partner site) option from the Affiliated Archives drop-down window.