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Free online publishing platform

April 10, 2013
scalar visualization tools

Visualization tools in Scalar

Scalar is an authoring and publishing platform designed to make it easy to create media-rich online texts. Free and open source, Scalar was released as a live open beta last week. With it, you can assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with writing in several ways.

Scalar is supposed to be great for shorter texts, such as articles or student-written papers. This kind of tool could quickly become a major asset to faculty who are interested in having students produce media-infused writing.

Scalar also supports commentary and collaborative authoring, but among the coolest features are the built-in visualization tools. The trailer video provides a helpful look at what the system does.

After setting up an account and beginning to create a text I was reminded that you can’t really jump into any system and create a book in five minutes. I will likely spend more time exploring Scalar in the near future, and I’ll be sure to report back.

Scalar is clearly designed for ease of use. A detailed User Guide – in the form of a Scalar book – includes quick start instructions. The website also includes a showcase of finished works for inspiration. Scalar is a project of USC’s Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, with support from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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