The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture

From Third Cinema to Media Justice: Third World Majority and the Promise of Third Cinema


From Third Cinema to Media Justice: Third World Majority and the Promise of Third Cinema, edited by Kara Keeling and Thenmozhi Soundararajan has just been released as an online Scalar publication.

Third World Majority was one of the first women of color media justice collectives in the United States, operating from 2001 to 2008.  From Third Cinema to Media Justice: Third World Majority and the Promise of Third Cinema is a collaborative multi-media archival and scholarly project. From Third Cinema to Media Justice brings together a comprehensive digital collection of materials produced by Third World Majority during the years of their existence along with scholarly essays, historical retrospectives, and dialogues about the work of Third World Majority.

Readers can access the Third World Majority’s video collection directly by choosing “Archive” from the main table of contents and from there explore curriculum materials and best practices for teaching with this archive.

By selecting “Dialogue” readers can browse a series of essays by activists, scholars, and cultural workers who draw on the archive to explore the history, ideas, and production models of this collective. Essays in this publication include “Introduction: Guiding Questions” by Kara Keeling, “Culture is a Weapon: Women of Colour Media Activism in the 2000s” by Carrie Rentschler, “’Take the Red Pill of Media Justice’: Third World Majority and Media Justice Activism​” by Lena Palacios, “Third World Majority as Feminist Online Space” by Alexandra Juhasz, and “Decolonial Media Praxis: From Cinema to Network” by micha cárdenas.

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All new Editorial Workflow features debut with Scalar 2.5


Anyone who’s edited a work of digital scholarship can tell you the task comes with a unique set of challenges. Some are practical (“How do I know if I’ve read the whole thing?”) while others are philosophical (“How do we handle changes made after publication?”). With the release of Scalar 2.5, the Scalar platform gains a new set of Editorial Workflow features designed to make the process of preparing a Scalar project for publication easier for authors and editors alike. We’re excited to share these new additions with you!

We’ll be covering specific aspects of the new Editorial Workflow in detail in future blog posts, but here’s an overview of what’s new:

Editorial Tab

You may have noticed that Scalar’s new Dashboard includes an Editorial tab—which now includes the ability to activate the Editorial Workflow for a specific book. Once activated, the Editorial tab will become your headquarters for tracking the editorial review process. If you don’t need the Editorial Workflow, do nothing and your Scalar books will continue to function as before.

Editor Role

Under the Users tab we’ve also added a new Editor user role to Scalar to facilitate the Editorial Workflow. Authors and Editors will have different permissions and will be prompted as to their respective tasks while they guide content through a six step process with multiple opportunities for review, revision, and comment.

Editorial Path

The Editorial Path is a new view in Scalar designed specifically to assist with the task of editing. It presents the complete content of a book in a scrolling format which can be sorted in several ways, helping ensure that nothing is missed. Inline editing allows authors to make text and media changes directly, without any need to navigate to individual pages. Search features and an outline view provide quick navigation throughout the book.

Version Compare

The Edit Page now includes an integrated Version Compare feature which highlights changes between individual versions. After an editor completes their review of a page, changes are automatically highlighted for the author, who is prompted to accept or reject the edits before proceeding.


By default, once a book passes through all six editorial phases to the Published stage, any future changes made by an author will go live immediately. Scalar’s new Editions feature, however, makes it possible to “freeze” the text and metadata of a book at its current state as a named Edition. Future changes will be hidden from users until those changes have gone through the review process and are themselves published in a new Edition. Visitors will always be shown the latest edition by default, but can access past editions if desired.

This is just an overview of the new Editorial Workflow features—for details, look to future blog posts or explore our updated documentation. Our thanks the National Endowment for the Humanities for making these new additions possible.


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Dashboard update brings new look and new features


Starting today, Scalar users will be able to opt-in to a simplified, streamlined Dashboard interface that aims to make Scalar books easier to work with, while also adding in a few new features. The new Dashboard features a set of tabs at the top, just like the existing version, but with some new twists and tweaks—read on for the details.

“My account” features moved

The new Dashboard prominently shows your user name and the title of the current book in the top left—clicking your user name will open the Account screen, which contains the functionality that previously appeared in the “My account” tab, including the ability to create new books.

Content tabs consolidated

Instead of a tab for each type of content in a Scalar book, the new Dashboard includes a single Content tab which can be filtered by content type. This new view is more readable and items can be selected and deselected more easily, by clicking the empty portion of any row.


Customize your book in the Styling tab

Options for customizing the look, feel, and behavior of your book have now been moved into their own standalone Styling tab for convenient access.

New Utilities tab and API Explorer

The Import and Export tools have been moved to a new Utilities tab, along with the API Explorer, a tool which was previously available at a separate URL but which now has been rolled into the Dashboard. This streamlined version of the API Explorer will walk you through creating an API query from start to finish, and can even be used to calculate an approximate word count for your project.

Getting started

To opt-in to the new Dashboard, log in to Scalar and navigate to the Dashboard using either the text link in the top right (if you’re in the Index) or the wrench icon in the header (if you’re in a book). You should see an opt-in message highlighted in yellow at the top—click “try it out” to switch to the new Dashboard. (During our transition to the new design, you can switch back to the old version at any time by using the “Revert Dashboard” link in the top right.)

Read More

You can find more detailed information on the new dashboard in our User’s Guide.


We hope you like the new Dashboard—if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch!

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Installation Archive: A Capsule Aesthetic


Kate Mondloch’s new book, A Capsule Aesthetic: Feminist Materialisms in New Media Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) explores, in Mondloch’s own words, “how selected new media installations offer novel experiential environments for exploring, inhabiting, and even critiquing our entanglements with science and technology in the 21st century.”

Installation Archive: A Capsule Aesthetic, an online companion to her print work, built in Scalar, offers a collection of user-generated social media videos documenting viewers’ experiences with the installations discussed in A Capsule Aesthetic: Feminist Materialisms in New Media Art. As a collection of videos, Installation Archive offers a novel form of “crowd-sourced art historical documentation by bringing attention to the user-generated moving image uploads associated with these evocative works of art.” The videos included in this collection, depict installations from “idiosyncratic and subjective” points of view, according to Mondloch, “for example, user-added personal commentary or supplemental text, abnormal audio or ambient noises, multiple and sometimes unrelated works documented in a single video, and so on.” Yet, however subjective or idiosyncratic, these documented experiences prove to be incredibly valuable, underscoring, as Mondloch puts it, that “art spectatorship is inherently multiple because artistic experience itself is multiple.”

See A Capsule Aesthetic: Feminist Materialisms in New Media Art at the the University of Minnesota Press.

Check out Installation Archive: A Capsule Aesthetic.

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Give your Scalar Book a Little More Action! Using Videos in Splash and Image Header Layouts.


Ever wanted to have a clip from a feature film play in the background of a splash page in your Scalar book? Or have animation in the header of a page? Now you can!

Adding a full-screen film clip to the background of your landing page or to the headers of select pages can add visual action to your project and, in general, enrich the multimedia experience of your work. But up till now, users employing our Splash, Book Splash, and Image Header layouts (see below) were limited to still images. Now, each of these layouts also support videos with an MP4 file format.

Videos added to these layouts will autoplay on a loop in the background without audio and without user controls. And as always, this new Scalar feature is fully mobile responsive.

Adding videos to the layouts below is as easy as adding images. Once you have the MP4 video in your media library, simply choose “Key Image” under the “Styling” options in Scalar’s page editor and find it there. Then select the appropriate layout under “Layout.”

Splash Layout. In the Splash layout, the page’s key image or video is shown full screen, with the page’s title at the bottom. If the page is part of a path or is itself a path, a navigation button is shown as well.

Book Splash Layout. In the Book Splash layout, the page’s key image or video is shown full screen, with the book’s title and author(s) at the bottom. If the page is part of a path or is itself a path, a navigation button is shown as well.

Image Header Layout. In the Image Header layout, the page’s key image or video is shown as a header, with the title and description of the page overlaid. The rest of the page follows the Basic layout, with text and media interspersed.

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The Newberry Library

Newberry Library’s Transcribing Faith

There’s been some great Scalar projects coming out of libraries and archives recently. People are finding innovative ways to showcase, annotate, visualize, map, and tell stories about archival material. We’ll be highlighting some of that work on our blog in the coming months.

We’d like to start with a couple use cases from the Newberry Library where Jen Wolfe, Digital Initiatives Manager, and Matt Krc, Digital Initiatives Librarian, have been using Scalar to great effect.

The first is an elegant research guide for a collection of Italian Religious Broadsides held at the Newberry, some 154 pamphlets printed in Italy between 1611 and 1697. As a research guide to archival holdings, the project highlights both the physical features of these artifacts and their social context while also calling out specific potential scholarly uses: particular topographical designs for historians of print and iconography for art historians; the nature of patronage for social historians and the use of poetry for literary scholars.

At each juncture the reader can also, if enticed, dive down into the full archive itself. One can also download the full archive as a pdf as well as the full OCR and metadata record for the entire collection, both in .txt and XML formats.

Image Gallery from Newberry’s Creating Shakespeare

A bit more expansive Creating Shakespeare, is an online companion to a physical exhibit of the same name which ran at the Newberry Library from September 23 to December 31, 2016. The exhibit gathered together a stunning array of material from the Newberry’s own collections as well as from the British and Folger Shakespeare Libraries. The exhibition included copies of Shakespeare’s own works; the books, manuscripts, maps, and objects he encountered in his life; and material by actors, writers, printers, artists, and filmmakers who sought to re-create Shakespeare in the 400 years after his death. The hope was to preserve this extraordinary array of material in digital form so it could live on past the physical exhibition itself.

As an online exhibit, Creating Shakespeare doesn’t just replicate and preserve its physical counterpart; it constructs an exhibit that is both readerly and interactive, both narrative and archival. Using material from the collections in stunning page layouts within Scalar, the online exhibit tells the story of Shakespeare’s life and works, his reception in the American (and in particular Chicagoan) theater, and in popular culture more generally. However, the online exhibit also offers readers a comprehensive interactive timeline through the material as well as a visually striking gallery overview of the collection as a whole.

Pages from The Book of Magical Charms in Transcribing Fath

Finally, the folks at the Newberry Library have had great success with a crowdsourced transcription project utilizing Scripto (developed at the Center for History and New Media) but built in Scalar. The Newberry is home to over 80,000 documents pertaining to religion during the early modern period and among these collections are three manuscripts dealing with magic. The Commonplace Book and The Book of Magical Charms each have Latin and English sections. The Cases of Conscience Concerning Witchcraft, published in 1693 by Increase Mather, an influential Puritan minister who administered the Salem Witch Trials, is in English only.

A page from the Book of Charms

The project, Transcribing Faith, offers scans for each of the pages in these volumes and asks its readers to transcribe and translate their content – the help, as the project describes it, “unlock the mysteries of these texts.” Within just a few weeks an extensive portion of these volumes had been transcribed and translated by users. This project, and the three manuscripts at its center are part a venture at the Newberry Library, Religious Change: 1450-1700, which explores the relationship between print, reading practices, and religion during the early modern period.

There are a number of other exciting digital initiatives happening at the Newberry, un-related to their work with Scalar. Among them include Polygots, an interactive exploration of complex page layouts contained in polygot Bibles from the 16th and 17th centuries and the Newberry’s Open Data Challenge, a chance to work with the OCR and metadata for some 35,000 pamphlets (850,000 pages) from the Newberry’s French Revolution Pamphlet collection.

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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.