Scalar Tip Page

This is a quick overview of some tips for Scalar.

To add Scalar to your Reclaim Hosting

  1. Go to the cPanel and the Scalar application should be under “Featured Applications. If not search for it.

Finding the Scalar app on reclaim

2. After clicking the application, install it. When you click on the link, it’ll prompt you to log on or take you to your book like you would if you used the SCALAR website directly.

Importing Media

Importing Media

To copy your book after the project is done, just go to “import” and follow the instructions.

3. SCALAR Sharing

Make sure to have the share settings for the book set properly or the import won’t work (I don’t think at least, I haven’t tested it out).

4. Scalar Version 2

To switch your SCALAR to version 2 simply go to “book properties” on the Book dashboard and change the interface version to “Scalar 2.”


I hope these tips help you out!



Clio Wired, Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past

In Roy Rozenweig’s book Clio Wired: The Future of the Past in the Digital Age, he talks discusses a phenomenon that is coincidentally, unfolding before the public eye. Hillary Clinton has come under fire for her treatment and deletion of emails. Secure or unsecured email storage aside, it is the fragility of evidence in the digital age that should concern historians. With the digital age, historians are faced with some new paradoxical dilemmas in interpreting evidence, something that won’t be fully realized until much into the future. The fragility of evidence, the oftentimes storage of evidence by private entities of things that concern the public domain is a new consequence of the digital age.

However, if tentative efforts to preserve digital records, historians are left with a second, more interesting problem. How does one approach history with nearly a complete record of evidence? Furthermore, the amount of data that is produced digitally is staggering and incomprehensible. According to Rozenweig, the Clinton White house produced an estimated six million e-mail messages per year. With the amount of material that is produced, it is almost a storage issue as it as an organizational issue.

With these in mind, Rozenweig declares that the historian must be able to adapt to a world of unprecedented historical abundance, while preventing a world with “record scarcity.” Furthermore, this concerns the historian. It is not just the realm of “technical” issues, regulated to the attentions of just librarians, computer scientists, and archivists. Historians must help build a new framework for dealing with these issues.

Some of the issues that the digital era brings are numerous and perplexing. There are methods of scholarship and audience to consider. Now that hobby historians and high schools have so much more access to traditional scholarship, who is the historian really writing for? Their audience has widened, shouldn’t how they approach material change too?

Another gigantic issue is the preservation of material. Digital corruption, degradation of magnetic and storage strips, the issues with software and hardware becoming obsolete, and the issue of information being stored in hyperlinks are just among a few of the preservation issues that the discipline is facing. The simplest was is to create paper copies of digital information, however, this is “sacrificing the original form, which may be of unique historical, contextual, or evidential interest.” The other awkward solution is to save the original equipment that the material was produced on, but long term that is unfeasible because drives break, things stop working. Plus, imagine whole warehouses full of old computers just to try to preserve the information that they produced.

Weizenberg’s solution is to foster an environment of public domain to create a healthy historical record. Perhaps as more people become aware of this issue, more people will want to create a lasting solution to collecting and maintaining evidence in the digital age.



SCALAR CF&I Mines Project Full Steam Ahead

Our SCALAR project for Digital History is taking form.

SCALAR in essence is a digital exhibiting tool, but there are many different ways to use it. A great example is the one that is curated by Chris Schreck, the archival manager at the Steelworks Archives. The work that he has begun is already invaluable to our project.

Here is a sample of our topic proposal for our SCALAR project:

Goals of the project:

  1. Showcase unseen parts of the CF&I archival collection and parts pertaining specifically to the mines of CF&I.
  2. Create interest in coal/iron mining culture.
  3. Produce an easily accessible database about the mines of CF&I that can be used by the Steelworks Center to expand upon in the future
  4. Assist the Steelworks Center of the West’s grant proposal
  5. Integrate historical/digital mapping to SCALAR

By the end of the semester we will have completed 100% (as feasibly possible) of the following for each mine page on the SCALAR:

  1. The name of each mine
  2. A reasonable location for each mine
  3. The Dates of which each mine was either or operated by CF&I or one of its parent companies
  4. The tonnage amount produced for each mine
  5. A historical map from the archives for each mine
    1. There might not be a map for each mine within the archives so the total number is dependent on the contents of the archives.
  6. At least one picture or sketch associated each mine from the archive.
    1. total number is again, contingent on the contents of the archive.
  7. An identification of what was mined at each mine
  8. coal, iron, stone, or fluorspar
  9. Creating a Google Map that matches up the mine’s location to the SCALAR page.

In addition to these for each mine, we will showcase other parts of the archives for a select number of mines:

  1. A description and history of at least ten mines.
  2. An oral history associated with at least three mines
    1. Oral histories will have to be captivating and compelling, so there could be more depending on the contents of the archives.
  3. Employee cards corresponding to at least fifteen mines

Components of labor needed to complete the tasks outlined above:

  1. The rest of the mine location names and locations to be found
    1. Primary research.
  2. transfer the dates and tonnage from Chris’ CF&I scalar to ours
  3. identify, possibly scan, upload, crop, and label each mine map
  4. identify, possibly scan, upload, crop, and label each mine picture or sketch.
  5. research and write the history of the assigned mines
  6. find, upload, and find a suitable format to showcase the oral histories
  7. find, possibly digitize employee cards for the mines
  8. create a map and tie each SCALAR page to the map.
  9. format the SCALAR book to best showcase the mines in a thoughtful and organized way either:
    1. By county
    2. Group by years mines opened
    3. By type of mine (coal, iron, etc)

As you can see, even though a lot of work has already been done (collecting 60 mine coordinates was not such a small task), but the scope of this project is beyond three people working on it for one semester. Trevor is tackling going through the archives digital pictures collection and then finding pictures of mines that are not online, which is where Chris as an archivist will be invaluable. I am setting up the SCALAR, working on finalizing a Google Maps with each SCALAR link attached, and good ole primary research for the last couple of mines. Todd worked on turning our bullet points into an actual paper, and has been helping with primary research. These next couple of weeks will be to gather as much information as possible to start filling in the framework of our SCALAR.


Joe Arridy excursion

I swear, the more time I spend on this class, the further down the digital humanity rabbit hole I go. This has proven to be fairly difficult because I am also working on my historiography project which has really ended up being a 12-15 page discussion on how historians either think that the railroad is man’s gift to man, or it is the devil and ruined everyone’s life (hyperbole) until Richard White wrote his book Railroaded and changed everything. That aside, the last two weeks have been fairly busy.

Last Thursday Chris and I took advantage of the beautiful day in Pueblo and went on a little field trip to get the inside scoop for our wiki project on Joe Arridy. I wrote about the specifics of Joe Arridy and our wiki project for him here.


Seriously, a nice day

The idea for our little field trip came from one of the diagrams we found in the archive boxes at the library.

neighborhood map

As you can see, most of Joe Arridy’s life in Pueblo was contained to a very small area in Bessemer. The murder of the little girl only happened a couple blocks away from where Joe’s family was living at the time of the murder. Now why the general consensus that Joe had nothing to do with the murder and rapes, it is interesting to see how close everything was together.

Our goal was to see the house where the murders occurred…and while we did invite Dr. Rees to come with us, he politely declined. I can’t imagine why.


The house of Dorothy Drain

This is honestly not what Chris and I expected. It was so damn cheery. It even had a white picket fence on the side of it. Heck, if you squint your eyes, this house could very well represent the American Dream. I fully expected the house to be a visual representation of the murder that happened inside. Chris and I joked that if we were to knock on their door and ask if them if they knew a murder occurred, we could safely say that historians were worse than door to door salesmen.

We also drove by Joe Arridy’s childhood home.


And to the home his family was living in at the same time of Dorothy Drain’s murder.



We needed this break because from here on out til the end of the semester it’s going to be a lot of data entry for our GIS project. I’ll be writing a separate blog post about our experience with the department chair of Geography and Environmental Studies, John Harner. He had some wonderful insight and really I’ve never been more excited to collect data (like I said, this class is taking me down the rabbit hole).


GIS and the limits and advantages of using data spatially in the historical field

Through the library at CSU Pueblo, Dr. Rees was able to have Historical GIS: Technologies, Methodologies, and Scholarship bought for us by the fabulously clever librarian Karen Pardue. Written by Paul Ell and Ian Gregory, Historical GIS offers up a comprehensive overview of GIS and its applications in the field of history. It’s a fairly technical book but its insights into how GIS can be used in history and also its strengths in limitations has already proven to be enormously helpful in how I find myself thinking about our GIS project. I will attempt to share what I’ve learned so far so when I talk about GIS, there is some more context to it then just “oh it’s the software that’s going to make all of this data shiny and pretty and map-like.”

The first question is, and should be, what is GIS? Well, broadly speaking, GIS is a type of software that allows the input of spatial data and attribute data into a database that can be used to project visual presentations of the data. Most importantly, that data can represented spatially over time which is where the inherent usefulness of GIS to a historian becomes apparent. attribute data describes what a feature is, and spatial data is the attribute data is inputted and linked to information about where the feature is located. This spatial data is stored as co-ordinates. More narrowly, GIS is the tools that the program offers, in addition to the software that provides the tools.

For our CF&I project, we will be essentially using three components of data: spatial, attribute, and time (known as temporal data). These three data groupings will allow us to visual the impact of change over time and space to create an understanding of movements of Hispanic workers. In an ideal situation, all three components of data would be readily available. However, since historians almost zealously maintain that their field is qualitative as opposed to quantitative, there are gaps because historical data is sometimes limited.

So here’s where thinking about data as projections spatially that have a quantitative approach gets tricky. We have fixed, limited data for Hispanic workers of where they were, and when they were at that place. So these three points of data need to be categorized much like you would in a scientific experiment; one group of data needs to be a fixed component, one group needs to be a controlled component, and one group of data needs to be the measured component.

Fixed Controlled Measured
Temporal Spatial Attribute
Spatial Attribute Temporal
Attribute Temporal Spatial

This is just an example of how you can organize the data. For GIS, Chris and I go back and forth on what we think could be the best way to organize the data. Our arguments are very philosophical in nature because the truth is, we could very well be putting the cart before the horse.

So here is what Chris thinks the data should be:

Fixed Controlled Measured
Data Type Attribute Time Location
GIS Project Input Hispanic Miners 1920s Southwest

His argument is that we are measuring where the Mexican workers are going in the 1920s.

My table looks like:

Fixed Controlled Measured
Data Type Time Location Attribute
GIS Input 1920s Southwest Hispanic Miners

I believe that we are examining the movements of Hispanic workers within a fixed time period in a spatial area, and we are measuring where the Hispanic workers are moving within that area.

What these tables really show is what Dr. Rees considers to be the best part of digital history. You begin to ask questions that would never come up in a traditional historical educational settings. You begin to think about source compilation, and the best way to share the data you have compiled. This is one of the reasons this blog post has taken so long to complete. In a way, I feel like this whole ordeal has rewired my brain.

So at the end of creating a GIS project, the goal is to have an organization of data that gives the ability to visual said data. The results gained from analysing this spatial representation is called spatial analysis. Ideally with a project with project like our GIS project, one could integrate two databases together to find causational relationships. The thing to keep in mind though, is that the map is not the end goal for a GIS historical approach, it is a research tool.