Category Archives: Class Announcements

please reserve this tag for Shannon and Angelica


Tags for your Media

Using Tags in Scalar helps identify  relationships between content posted, whether a page or media, and works non-linearly (unlike Paths). This will help us see the commonalities between everyone’s final projects and tie in those relationships. We need to think of cohesive keywords we can use as Tags.

Please tag your media which will be beneficial to tie in those commonalities. Also, make sure you identify what type of media you used (photo, sound, video). Use the following tags:

  • Photo
  • Sound
  • Video
  • Media Studies
  • The New School
  • The New School Archives
  • Course Catalogs
  • Center for Understanding Media
  • John Culkin
  • Deirdre Boyle
  • Peter Haratonik
  • Kit Laybourne
  • Melissa Friedling
  • Oral History

Also note, some of these tags to do not exist in our project yet, so if it doesn’t create a new Page and nest your Media under this Tag Page.


Final Presentations!

Wendy and Liza will be joining us in class on May 13, as we share our as-final-as-it’s-going-to-get version of our Scalar project. Angelica and Shannon will provide an overview and discuss the overarching “theme.” Then each of you will share your contribution to the collaborative effort. Plan to talk for ten minutes.

You might start by briefly reminding us of your motivation for choosing your topic or application. Then take us on a tour of your work. For those of you doing “content-based work”: click through the pages, explain your narrative or argumentative path, describe what experience you’re aiming to create for your user/visitor/reader. And in the process, highlight some of your most interesting content. For those of you developing tools: talk about how your tool allows us to engage with archival material in new and illuminating ways, discuss possible applications, and show us (if possible) how your tools has been pilot-tested in classmates’ projects.


Notes from Jane Pirone’s UX Presentation

The User & the Design Process

User Scenarios [secure file]
DataMyne Discovery Report [secure file]

User Scenarios for In-Class Workshop

Break into pairs. One person will choose and “enact” one of the following scenarios, while the other person observes. Then, once the “researcher” finishes his/her task, the observer can questions about how the researcher chose to structure his/her interaction — and the two work can together to develop a flowchart diagramming how the “researcher” completed the task. Then swap roles, choose another user scenario, and repeat!

#1. Former New School adjunct professor, looking for course descriptions from 1987 to 1990.

#2. Parsons undergraduate student given assignment to “find something about a designer in the archives.”

#3. Child of Parsons alum looking for information about the school during the time his/her parent would have attended the school, 1940s-1950s, specifically information about parent’s department/major. Alum graduated from “Industrial Design” program, which has been renamed several times.

#4. First-year student is writing a research paper on the impact of the Helvetica typeface in its first decade. Assignment requires student to include a primary source from an archives.

#5. Fashion industry professional looking for samples of floral patterns.


Pecha Kucha, April 22

To our guest critics:

Students in Digital Archives have been charged with “reimagin[ing] the “interface” to the archives by prototyping… platforms for highlighting and recontextualizing noteworthy archival material – particularly material regarding the history of media study and media-making at The New School.” They’ve chosen to create a single class-wide exhibition — with each student making an individual contribution based on his or her own interests — using the Scalar platform.  You’ll see here some of our “conceptual” plans for the exhibition; the second image shows students’ individual areas of interest. And some students have posted their individual project proposals here.

As you can see in my instructions to the students, below, they’re starting to translate their conceptual interests into concrete exhibitions of “archival stuff.” They’ll be sharing their evolving ideas with you in the form of a pecha kucha, with each student delivering a fast-paced presentation consisting of 20 slides. We’d value your input, at this formative stage, on how their projects are taking shape. Is there a there there? Are there rhetorical strategies they should employ to help them more effectively convey their messages via exhibition? Are there particular archival materials you’d recommend that they include? Are there ethical issues they need to consider?  Do you see any potentially fruitful synergies between different students’ projects?

To Digital Archives students:

The Pecha Kucha exercise will serve to:

  1. help your classmates learn about your particular theoretical and topical interests (which will also help us formalize plans for collaboration);
  2. encourage you to think concretely about the “stuff” of your contribution – i.e., how you’ll flesh out your conceptual interests with exhibitable archival objects and arguments [Your plans are undoubtedly still taking shape at this stage of the semester, and they’ll continue to evolve as you “actualize” your project on Scalar – so, rather than thinking of this presentation as a demonstration of “your work,” I encourage you to approach it more as a preview of what’s possible in your final project]; and
  3. allow you to receive some design feedback — about how to frame your exhibition — from the experts who’ll be visiting us in class.

Learn about PechaKuchas here. See also Olivia Mitchell’s “Five Presentation Tips for Pecha Kucha or Ignite Presentation” Speaking About Presenting [blog post], and check out some videos of Ignite presentations.

Here’s what you need to do: Prepare a 20-slide, automatically advancing (timed) presentation (20 seconds per slide) that encapsulates the topics / themes, archival “stuff,” and arguments that are central to your project, and that previews the breadth of media forms and formats that you’re likely to include in your exhibition. Because our projects are not solely visual, you’re welcome to incorporate audio and video clips – as long as they’re limited to 20-second bites.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 12.45.14 AM

Scalar tutorial

Since we will be using Scalar as the platform to create our online exhibits, I introduced some of the basic functions of Scalar during lab today.

The main components of a Scalar project includes: Pages, Media, Paths, Tags, and Annotations. Pages holds your text (like creating a Post in WordPress) but Pages also holds Media, Paths, Tags, and Annotations. Each of these components has its own URL. Media can be embedded from  importing files from their affiliated archives (Internet Archive, Critical Commons, and more), other archives (which they refer to Prezi, Soundcloud, Vimeo, and Youtube), internet files, local media files. Paths are an order series of Pages. This is how you want your reader to experience the exhibit. Once more content is created in our overall Scalar project for we can intersecting paths between everyone’s exhibits. Tags are nonlinear markers/categorization, which will be useful to create Visualizations of the overall Scalar project to tie in and connect the main themes in each Page/everyone’s projects. Annotations is the ability to comment the media objects imported/embedded: video, images, audio, and text. Paths, Tags, and Annotations help create relationships that will connect the archival issues in everyone’s project.

We each signed up for Scalar accounts and I added everyone to my book project: “TNS Media Archives Test.” We added Pages and some Media and I created one Path to connect all the Pages we made:

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 1.16.24 AM


Visualization of Media and their relationship:

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 1.16.44 AM


Media cannot be directly imported from TNS Digital Archives since it is not an affiliated archives and also because it will look like this:
Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 12.56.20 AM
We will have to upload our own photos through Media, such as this one. This is what we will have to do for the photos you take from the Archives. Georgia asked if we can hyperlink to another URL on the photos we do upload. We can use html to do that function. The html code is: <a href=”URL”><img src=”URL IMAGE”/></a> This can be done when adding new content, a Page, and using HTML instead of Visual in the body where you plugin your text.

Adding Citation/Metadata
When creating a new page or media/editing  page or media: Click on “Metadata” on the bottom of the page

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 9.49.07 PM


Then Click on “Add Additional Metadata.” This popup are terms used in Dublin Core [DCTERMS] & Artstor [Art]. For the purpose of the class its only necessary to include “source” under DCTERMS which Liza pointed out to us refers to the location of the original archival material found in TNS Archives. Please include this citation in whatever media/document/photo you will be using in your project. The Archives have asked if you are using an unprocessed media studies resources, please use this format under “source”:

[identification of item -- you can determine this, or take it from the
folder title], [date], School of Media Studies records, NS020501, [Box
Number], The New School Archives and Special Collections, The New
School, New York, NY.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 9.49.22 PM

I will be going more in depth with Scalar and its customization later in the semester and updating this post. If you have any questions please email me! Please review Scalar User’s Guide and this basic guided tour of Scalar:

There are upcoming webinars starting this Thursday for the next couple of weeks if you are interested:
Introduction to Scalar: April 10, 10am-12pm (PST)
Intermediate Scalar: April 24, 10am-12pm (PST)
Advanced Scalar: May 8, 10am-12pm (PST)

To register, you can do that here.  If you want to watch past webinars you can view them here.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 9.41.27 PM

Platforms Overview


Omeka used by the digital humanities and are smaller projects (“the WordPress of digital archiving platforms”). If you don’t have your own server you can use and the basic free plan includes 500 MB of storage space. Omeka uses Dublin Core as their metadata standards, however through there are somewhere between 4-6 metadata standards which through plugins (such as VRA Core 4). You can search for Plugins (such as Neatline). If you want to try out Omeka, you can try it out in their Sandbox demo.


Heroes and Villains (an site)

100 Years: The Rockefeller Foundation

Battersea Arts Centre Digital Archive

Digital Dos Passos

Building an archive in

Building exhibits in


Scalar is used mostly for publishing e-books and digital born scholarship. I think this is the most promising platform. You can create paths and tags that work nonlinearly throughout your project. You can import files from their affiliated archives (Internet Archive, Critical Commons, and more), other archives (which they refer to Prezi, Soundcloud, Vimeo, and Youtube), internet files, local media files, and other Scalar books.

It is also possible to host Scalar to your ownserver!!! From their Github: “If you are technically inclined and decide to host your own version of Scalar, you’re free to customize and modify it in any way, but it’s up to you to download, install and troubleshoot updates as they become available.” However keep in mind, “the version of Scalar that is hosted on our servers guarantees that you are working on the most up-to-date version of the software.”


Performing Archive: Curtis + “the vanishing race”

Virtual Asian American Art Museum Project Pilot Lab

Scalar User’s Guide

Scalar Platform – Guided Tour :


Things to note about the differences between WordPress: Using storage space is 500MB; is 3000MB (or ~ 3GB) however, you cannot upload audio files unless you have a space upgrade. relies on your own server and is more flexible in customizing your site. There are tons of WordPress tutorials online that you can search for. ***If anyone finds a good online exhibit that is hosted through WordPress, please feel free to share it with the class.***

Another resources that were mentioned in class today:

Harvard’s Wiki on Collection and Exhibition Platforms 

Viewshare –  “a free platform created by the Library of Congress for generating and customizing views (interactive maps, timelines, facets, tag clouds) that allow users to experience your digital collections.”

Timeline JS – “is an open-source tool that enables you to build visually-rich interactive timelines and is available in 40 languages.”

 Mediathread - “connects to a variety of image and video collections (such as YouTube, Flickr, library databases, and course libraries), enabling users to lift items out of these collections and into an analysis environment. In Mediathread, items can then be clipped, annotated, organized, and embedded into essays and other written analysis.”

Image via Carlos Lascano!

Using Collective Access Lightbox

Here’s Wendy’s presentation on using the Collective Access lightbox, which, as she acknowledges, is “pre-beta” :-)  She also notes: “The User Group functionality is obviously still problematic, but I did get it to work for me today, so it’s worth giving a try if you have a few minutes to play with it.” She also plans to speak with the developers soon, and hopes they’ll be able to fix the bugs in this system.



Angelica reports: Open-Source Digital Archiving Platforms Workshop

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend the “Open Source Digital Archiving: Omeka, CollectiveAccess, and Beyond” workshop hosted at Eyebeam, and led by Hadassah Damien.  The participates in the workshop came from several professional fields and interests. Some of us were students, artists, others worked in major museums, or nonprofits with the common interest in understanding open-soured digital archiving software. The first half of the workshop we talked about the differences between Omeka and CollectiveAccess, but most importantly which platform is better for your need. “Why + Who = What” : Why are you collecting, Who will use the resource you’re collecting/who is producing or managing the platform will determine which platform will be best for you.

As we saw when Seth & Julia from CollectiveAccess visited the class, CollectiveAccess are being used by G.L.A.M institutions (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) which tend to larger projects. Omeka is being used by the digital humanities and are smaller projects compared to those using CollectiveAccess. Some of the Omeka examples we saw were:

Heroes and Villians

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Fist is Still Raised

Hadassah explained Omeka as the WordPress of the digital archiving software world. If you don’t have you’re own server, Omeka has a .net (much like WP’s .com) however it is limiting compared to having your own server. Omeka defaults its metadata standards to Dublin Core, but there are plugins that allow you to change the standards. One of the questions asked is whether the possibility of an “item” belonging to several “collections”, and sadly it cannot. And unlike CollectiveAccess, there is no option to have an “entity” in Omeka, unless you type up a html coding. Although you have more flexibility and choices with CollectiveAccess, it is harder and longer to build.

We spent the second half of the workshop playing with both platforms, which was useful to see the possibilities and differences with these platforms. If you are interested in testing out the platforms, both have a “sandbox” (testing environment).

CollectiveAccess’s Sandbox

Omeka’s Sandbox 

I’m going to be go though some of the suggested platforms Shannon recommended, but if you have any recommendations or already have in mind which platform you want to use please let me know!