Getting started with Scalar

What is it?

Scalar is a free, open source publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online. 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. Scalar also gives authors tools to structure essay- and book-length works in ways that take advantage of the unique capabilities of digital writing, including nested, recursive, and non-linear formats. The platform also supports collaborative authoring and reader commentary.  Scalar is a project of the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture (ANVC) in association with Vectors and  IML, and with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Why Use it?

If you want to experiment with online publishing and non-traditional narrative with rich media and nonlinear pathways to navigation of a work.



  1. Sign up for an account at:
    1. Note that you can create your first book when you create your account.
    2. Alternatively, you can go into your account settings later to do the following:
      1. Create new book. Enables you to create a new book by entering its title and clicking the "Create" button.
      2. Duplicate a book. Allows you to duplicate another Scalar book in its entirety. To make your book duplicatable go to the Sharing tab in your dashboard and select "Yes" under Duplicability.
    3. Note: Delete book. Books cannot be deleted with this interface. Please send an email to a Scalar admin to request the deletion of a book.
  2. Read through the getting started guide for version 2 (latest) at: Also note that they offer webinar tutorials as well. Scalar also archives all their webinars, and can be found here.
  3. If you made your account in step 1 you can skip to the section on creating your first book at: assuming you got enough detail at the overview and that you already created the account in step 1.  Walk through this set of instructions and you should be able to create your first project.  If you didn’t create a book in the account creation process you need to go to your account settings to do this.  It can be problematic to have the tutorial up at the same time you try to do this so I recommend opening the getting started page in an incognito web window to be able to toggle back and forth between your account and the guide.


Article ID: 1553
Tue 5/26/20 6:16 PM
Mon 8/31/20 8:05 AM