Scalar describes itself as “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. 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.”

Why this tool?

Scalar works as a content management system that allows you to create a semantic web of media and pages, structured in a way that allows your users to follow a specific path or set of paths, or allow them to explore it in a non-linear way. You can structure your Scalar project like a traditional book, setup as a series of chapters and pages, or you can make it more like a “choose your own adventure” story where your user follows various paths and trails. Ultimately, Scalar works in such a way that it takes advantage of digital media and publishing to create something truly unique. Alternatively, you can make a very straightforward website with Scalar that takes your user down a very specific path.

Getting started

To get started with Scalar, you will need:

Installing Scalar on Sites


Scalar websites take a lot of time to plan and build, and do not always conform to what your users may expect when working with a website.

Tutorials and Documentation

  • The Scalar documentation covers all aspect of using it
  • The Claremont Colleges has a good set of tutorials
  • York University has an OER that talks you through Scalar
  • San Diego State University has an excellent slidedeck of how to get started with Scalar
  • The University of Illinois library has a LibGuide that covers many aspects of Scalar