Skip to Main Content

Digital projects and assignments


Scalar is 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[...] 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 (Alliance for Networking Visual Culture.)

Scalar @ McGill

Scalar has been implemented in over 10 courses at McGill. Students in health sciences, humanities, and social sciences have worked on visual interactive essays using this platform. 

Getting started with Scalar

Create an account

  • On the top-right corner click on Register
  • Fill out the form and click on the blue Register button (Note: Captcha for Scalar can be a bit finicky and you may need to do it several times)
  • You now have an account!                                               

Start a book

Upon registration/sign in you will be directed to the index page, where you’ll be able to find all your books. To create a new book, click on the Dashboard link on the top-right corner off the screen. Once in the dashboard:

  • Click on the My Account tab
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page to where it saysCreate new book”
  • Type your book’s title, check the I’m not a robot box, and click on Create
  • This should take you to dashboard for your book

Create pages

From the dashboard:

  • Go to the pages tab
  • Click on Create new page

From your book:

  • Click on the plus sign (+) at the top-right corner of the page

Edit pages

From the dashboard:

  • Go to the pages tab
  • Find the page you want to edit click on Edit

From your book:

  • Click on the pencil icon at the top-right corner of the page

For instructions on adding media, paths, widgets, etc. pleased consult the Scalar Manual on the right-hand column.

What's the Registration Key?

Scalar requires new users to enter a "Registration Key" before creating a new account. You can find a link to the registration key request form on the regular registration page. This can take a few days so please plan ahead. 

Getting around the 2MB limit

Scalar has a 2MB upload limit, which makes it difficult to upload videos. In those cases, it is best to upload the content somewhere else and add it to Scalar through the "Internet URL"  option. You can upload it to:

Scalar manual

McGill LibraryQuestions? Ask us!
Privacy notice