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Scalar: Working with Media

Guide to using Scalar at Penn

Working with Media

Scalar makes it easy to import media items such as images and videos from a variety of online archives such as:

  • Youtube
  • Vimeo
  • SoundCloud
  • Internet Archive
  • Critical Commons
  • Omeka

If you would like to import media from something that does not appear on the list above, use the Internet Media Files option in the dropdown!


  1. To begin, log in to your Scalar book and navigate to the book editing page.
  2. Hover over "Affiliated Archives" or "Other Archives" to find the web archive you would like to import from. Click on the archive you would like to use:
  3. In the search bar on the Importer page, search for the title of the content you would like to use:
  4. From the search results, check all the media items you would like to import. If you would like to edit the metadata before importing, check the "Edit metadata before importing" box at the bottom of the results. You can learn more about editing the metadata on the "Adding Metadata" tab of this guide:
  5. The media items will now be added to your site and you can use them on your Scalar pages! If you need to return to the media items you have added to edit or annotate them, go to the Dashboard for your Scalar book and click on the Media tab:

Scalar is designed to store only the metadata of media items that you have uploaded to another website on the internet. However, in some cases, it is necessary to upload your own files directly to Scalar.

Uploading your own media items to Scalar is not recommended for large collections of files or single files larger than 32 MB.


Uploading Your Files

  1. Log in to your Scalar book and navigate to the book editing page or the dashboard for your book.
  2. Go to the upload page:
    1. If in Book Editing Mode, click on the "Import Menu" icon in the upper right corner and then "Local Media Files".
       
    2. If in the Dashboard, click on the "Media" tab, then from the "Import Pages" dropdown in the upper right, select "Upload file".
  3. Complete the "Import Local Media File" form:
    1. You must give the uploaded file a title. Do not include special characters in the title, such as "." or "&". Please use only letters, spaces, and numbers.
    2. It is recommended that you give your file a description, to make it easier to identify after you have uploaded or imported a large number of files.
    3. "Upload to" does not matter, but please be consistent.
    4. "Media page URL" - it is highly recommended  that you select "Create from filename"
    5. If you are uploading a file to replace another file, select which file you are replacing from the "Replace existing" dropdown. If this file is new, ignore this dropdown.
    6. Click "Choose File" to select your file to upload.
    7. Click "Upload" to upload your file with the settings entered above.
  4. After uploading your file, you will automatically be redirected to the public page for this file. To add metadata for your file, please look at the tab of this guide labeled "Adding Metadata".

This guide assumes that you have already uploaded or imported your files into your Scalar book. If you have not added the desired files to your book, please see the tabs for "Uploading Media Items" or "Importing Media Items from the Internet".


Adding or Editing Metadata

  1. Locate the Media Item you would like to edit:
    1. If you have just uploaded this item and you are already on the public page for this Media Item, move on to the next step (the page should look similar to the example below).
    2. If you are in Book Editing Mode and not on the public page for your Media Item, go to the Dashboard for your book by clicking on the wrench icon in the upper right and follow the next step listed immediately below (1.3).
    3. If you are in the Dashboard, go to the "Media" tab and browse or search for the Media Item you would like to edit. Click on the link to the item under the "URL" column (do NOT click on the "Edit" button, this will only allow you to change basic file information).
  2. Once you are on the public page for your media item, click on the Edit button (shaped like a pencil) in the upper right.
  3. You are now on the Media Item Editing screen. At the top, you can change basic file information, such as the Title, Description, and URL.
  4. To edit or add metadata, click on the "Metadata" tab.
  5. If you have already added some metadata fields to this media item, you can edit those fields here.
  6. To manually add new metadata (recommended), click on "Add additional metadata". You can also automatically pull any embedded metadata from a file by clicking "Auto-populate fields from file".
  7. After clicking "Add additional metadata", a form will appear where you can select new metadata fields to add for your item. Check the boxes of all field you would like to add. We recommend the following fields under the "dcterms" section (to learn more about the fields we have selected, visit the Dublin Core website):
    1. contributor - An entity responsible for making contributions to the resource
    2. coverage - The spatial or temporal topic of the resource, the spatial applicability of the resource, or the jurisdiction under which the resource is relevant
    3. creator - An entity primarily responsible for making the resource
    4. date - A point or period of time associated with an event in the lifecycle of the resource
    5. format - The file format, physical medium, or dimensions of the resource
    6. identifier - An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context
    7. language - A language of the resource
    8. publisher - An entity responsible for making the resource available
    9. relation - A related resource
    10. rights - Information about rights held in or over the resource
    11. source - A related resource from which the described resource is derived
    12. subject - The topic of the resource
    13. type - The nature or genre of the resource
  8. After selecting your desired fields, click the "Add fields" button. These new fields will now appear under the "Metadata" tab for you to edit.
  9. When you have finished editing your metadata, click on "Save and view".
  10. Your newly added fields will appear under the "DETAILS" tab of the public view of your Media item.
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Recommended Metadata Fields

When adding metadata to Media Items, we recommend the following fields:

  • contributor
  • coverage
  • creator
  • date
  • format
  • identifier
  • language
  • publisher
  • relation
  • rights
  • source
  • subject
  • type