This week, our class is all about “Opening & Expanding Forms of Scholarly Communication.” The following tools are meant to do exactly that, open the modes of scholarly communication to as wide an audience as possible. 


Scalar is a Alliance for Networking Visual Culture (ANVC) project, which was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and is associated with Vectors and IML. Scalar is a “semantic web authoring tool” that allows authors to write and publish “long-form, born-digital scholarship online.” It is free and open-source. Clicking on the “open-source” hyperlink will lead you to a, where you can find additional information on Scalar’s code, including updates, information for downloading Scalar onto your own server if you so wish (and are technically capable), the contributors to the code, and even the languages used to write it. 

Scalar allows people to “assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways.” Scalar supports media from sites like YouTube and Vimeo and has archive partners like the Internet Archive and the Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive that provide media resources for Scalar users. Users can customize the styles of their pages and write in tandem with other users. Scalar also offers built-in visualizations. There are two variations of Scalar visualizations. 1) Page level, which “show only content linked to that page” 2) Book level, which shows content book-wide and lets readers “choose the type of content and relationships they’d like to see visualized, as well as the graphic format of the visualization itself.” 

Under the tab of Showcase, a selection of Scalar projects are presented under the categories of: Digital Exhibits, Critical Editions, Digital Monographs, Book Companions, Multimodal Research Projects, Multimodal Digital Archives, Journal Issues & Articles, Theses & Dissertations, Class Projects, and Student Research Projects. 

I explored one of the Digital Archives–Welcome to Our Dark Materials: Rediscovering an Egyptian Collection:

  • This archive is meant to serve as a supplement for a 2018-2019 physical exhibit. Both the digital and physical exhibits display materials from Stanford University Archaeology Collections’ Egyptian collection. 
  • When you first see this archive you see an introduction to and background information for the collection. Then you see a Contents list and a big blue button saying: Begin with “Materials.” The materials of the exhibit are shown through a visualization:

Clicking on one of the four material types results in an array of items made of those materials along with each of those items’ unique Object ID:

Clicking on one of the items takes you to a page on that item, with a description of the item as well as other information as it relates to its position within the Scalar project. Clicking on the name at the top of this page takes you to another page that details from whom Stanford acquired the described item.

If you scroll down on the page with the main visualization chart, you see another “Contents” where you can click on another blue box labeled “Begin with Stone” which will take you to a page that speaks about the material and displays photos of each item that you can click on and get the same information as above. 

DH + Lib

DH + Lib is meant to be a space where librarians, archivists, Library Information Science graduate students, and information specialists all come together to discuss digital humanities and libraries. It spawned from the ACRL Digital Humanities Discussion Group (DHDG) listserv. The site first came to life in 2012 during the Digital Library Federation forum meeting in November of 2012. Its founding editors were Roxanne Shirazi and Sarah Potvin with support from Angela Courtney and Kate Brooks and other advisors from the DHDG listserv.  

In 2013, the dh + lib Review was launched which, via an aggregator function, provides a weekly collection of readings, resources, job postings, calls for papers/participation, etc. Volunteer Editors-at-Large shift through the aggregator content and highlight selected items. Weekly editors then take pieces from these selected items and write contextualizing posts about them, which are then published on dh + lib. The site also features original content as well. 

Here is the dh + lib Review page:

Here is an example of a post from this page, about an event. The editors are listed out at the bottom of the post:

This little box on the About Page lets you select a month and a year, which then leads you to the dh + lib Review posts for that month:

dh + lib also has a Resources Tab:

The dh + lib Registry page which provides a list of library groups that “offer digital humanities and digital scholarship services.” 

Programming Historian

The Programming Historian began in 2008, and it was created by William J. Turkel and Alan MacEachern. It was open access from the get-go and initially focused mainly on Python. In 2012, with an expanded editorial team, the Programming Historian launched “an open access peer reviewed scholarly journal of methodology for digital historians. The site is now available in four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. All of Programming Historian’s tutorials are peer-reviewed. At its core, the Programming Historian is open-source and is committed to allowing the widest range of participation in its tutorials and resources possible. 

The Programming Historian is possible through a large collection of talented volunteers. Its “Contribute” page presents categories of work for which they need volunteers, which include: write a new lesson, edit lessons, translate a lesson, provide feedback or report problems, add us to your Library Catalog, and make a suggestion.

The Programming Historian’s Lesson Index is sorted by phases of the research process (i.e. acquire, transform, analyze, present, and sustain) and by general topics (i.e. python, data management, distant reading, machine learning, network analysis, etc.) Clicking on one of the buttons will sort the lessons accordingly. You can also sort the lessons by difficulty.

You can then select any lesson you want, like for example, Heather Froelich’s “Corpus Analysis with Antconc,” which teaches you how to use corpus analysis (a kind of text analysis) that “allows you to make comparisons between textual objects at a large scale (so-called ‘distant reading’).”

At the top of the page, you are provide with the following information: the editor, the reviewer(s), the publication date, the modification date, and the difficulty level. You can also find here what languages this lesson is available in:

Each lesson has a table of contents which allows you to navigate through it with ease:

This lesson provides step-by-step instructions all along the way, often with pictures to help guide the reader through what they are supposed to do. 

The end of a lesson page has: further resources for the tutorial, an about the author section, and a suggested citation for the lesson:

There is also a Programming Historian blog that is a place for people to share news about PH, how technology can be used in your work, and how PH has been applied to the real world. 

Humanities Commons

Humanities Common is a network for humanities people. Through it, one can “discover the latest open-access scholarship and teaching materials, make interdisciplinary connections, build a WordPress Website, and increase the impact of your work by sharing it in the repository.” The site’s sidebar provides you with lots of things to explore. You can also create a profile, join a group, create a WordPress site, discover OA scholarship and more.

Humanities Commons’ social networking features use Commons In a Box, an open-source platform created by City University of New York and CUNY Graduate Center. It also uses an open-access repository called the Commons Open Repository Exchange (CORE). 


Members of Humanities Commons can join groups, which are “micro-communities” where one can find other scholars with similar interests. Within groups there are the following categories: activity (all the activity happening in the group), events (group calendar for events of interest), discussion (place for communication amongst group members), docs (a place for collaborative authoring amongst the group), files (shared storage area), from CORE (all the materials uploaded into the CORE repository from members of the group related to the group), and site (group members can collaboratively create a WordPress site for their group). 

Clicking on Sites brings you to a list of a large variety of WordPress sites created through Humanities Commons.

One quick click and you are on the listed site:

Clicking on the Members tab literally shows you all the HC members. HC members are able to follow each other on the site. Clicking on a member shows you their profile.

Clicking on the CORE Repository tab brings you to the CORE Repository where all sorts of materials uploaded by HC members can be found (i.e. papers, book reviews, scholarship, etc.)

The News Feed is a quick way to see all the new things that have been posted in the various corners of the network.

2 Replies to “This week, our class is all about “Opening & Expanding Forms of Scholarly Communication.” The following tools are meant to do exactly that, open the modes of scholarly communication to as wide an audience as possible. ”

  1. Your detailing and analysis of the practicums for this week were especially helpful in how they work and their relevance to history. The inclusion of images that showed the resources was also helpful in showing how they work and the various features they include. A theme of these resources seems to be a community-oriented approach, utilizing digital tools, to empower historians and other relevant people. The open-access aspect of “Humanities Commons” I think speaks to this as it allows the community to build on each other’s ideas. It also seems important in sharing your work with like-minded individuals. The “micro-communities” aspect that you wrote about shows how the online medium can facilitate deeper research and connections into lesser known areas. These types of resources are important building an online presence of historians and academia that utilizing new technological advancements while continuing to do valuable work.

  2. I’ve heard of Scalar before, but prior to this class had never done research on what it was. I think it’s so neat how you can create digital exhibits, archives, and multimodal projects on Scalar. I also really like how you can use the site to organize information for dissertations, theses, and other research projects. I’ve never been one to plan visually with graphs, so I’d be interested to test out Scalar for my next research project and see what I think! Your post on the site helped clarify more about what it is, because when I was playing around on the site, I got a bit overwhelmed with all you can do!

    I’m really excited about Programming Historian because I know next to nothing about digital tools or programming like python or corpus analysis. Definitely will be looking into some of those tutorials to expand my knowledge on digital tools.

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