Digital Authoring and Exhibits Platforms

The following platforms are being used by York University Libraries for showcasing digital exhibits and authoring digital scholarship. These platforms are hosted by external institutions but are freely available for use by the global scholarly community. To explore these tools, visit the respective websites to create an account.

Scalar

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. Getting started with Scalar is as simple as visiting the site and creating an account, as the Scalar platform is hosted by the University of Southern California and access to the platform is open to all.

Scalar is ideal for working with smaller content collections and gives authors tools to structure essay and book-length works in ways that take advantage of the unique capabilities of digital writing. The platform also supports an number of visualizations, collaborative authoring, and reader commentary.

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.

The exhibition titled Yorkville and the Folk Revival in Toronto using the Scalar platform was created by undergraduate public history student Michael Primiani under the supervision of Stacy Allison-Cassin, during her term as the W.P. Scott Chair in E-Librarianship. The project was featured in an article on the website for the Department of History. Viewers of the exhibition are encouraged to explore the Visualizations (click on the compass icon in the top navigation bar), and in particular, the “Connections” model for an appreciation of the networked complexity of the project.

The Libraries have created a step-by-step guide to working with Scalar.

Omeka

Omeka is a free, open source content management system for online digital collections, and allows users to publish and exhibit cultural heritage objects.[1]

Omeka is a frequent choice for the display and dissemination of digital collections as it allows for the description, organization, and sharing of digital objects. It adheres to the Dublin Core metadata standard which supports the description of digital objects and is interoperable with other platforms. Omeka is free to use for smaller collections via the Omeka.net website (as a non-expiring free trial), or can be downloaded and installed on a local server. Designed with the non-IT specialist in mind, it is designed to allow users to focus on content.

The Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections at York University Libraries host a number of digital exhibits using the Omeka platform.

The Omeka team has developed an exhaustive and well-designed suite of documentation to support those seeking to learn the platform. In addition, they have created a page that describes how Omeka can be integrated into teaching. Contact diginit@yorku.ca to discuss integrating digital scholarship into your teaching.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omeka