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Images in a developing online collection.

Introducing the Online Learning Lab

An exciting new technology is coming to your classroom! Last week, the Smithsonian Institution launched their new Online Learning Lab. The Lab gives anyone access to the Smithsonian’s digital collections, including millions of digitized images, videos, artifacts, and documents. Following the Lab’s “discover, create, share” model, items in the collections can be organized, annotated, and remixed according to your imagination. Have a topic you’re interested in? Create a collection for yourself or to share with friends, like the one I created about my home-sweet-home: Nevada.

Images in a developing online collection.

Creating my collection in the Smithsonian’s Online Learning Lab.

While it’s a fun tool for exploring personal interests, the Online Learning Lab was created for teachers with the help of teachers and is intended to be used in K-12 as well as higher education classrooms. You can use the Lab to give students access to customized collections, including your original annotations, quizzes, and assignments. Students can also create their own collections, making this the perfect tool for a digital exhibit assignment. And even as you add your own annotations and titles, you won’t lose or overwrite the Smithsonian’s excellent metadata so you don’t have to worry about endangering the knowledge of one of our nation’s most venerable institutions.

The Smithsonian is presenting the Online Learning Lab this week at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. Even if you weren’t able to make it to Denver for the conference, you can still get started with this incredibly fun and easy tool. So, what are you waiting for? Your class could be on the cutting edge.

Getting started with research: Finding background information

So, you’ve just been assigned a research paper or project? If you’re like most people, you’re next step is to do some pre-research on your topic. After all, you want to get a sense of what it’s all about before you commit. You probably search Google and maybe read a Wikipedia article or two. The purpose of this is to gather background information and explore your topic before settling on a focused research question. But while Google and Wikipedia are handy tools, you might find yourself questioning the credibility of some of the information you find online or maybe your professor requires you to use scholarly sources. Where should you turn? To the library, of course!


Try a basic keyword search on your topic or browse books by subject.

The library has many print and digital resources to help you find background information. We often call these “reference sources.” One of my favorite reference sources is Credo Reference. Credo includes more than 800 unique reference titles and nearly 4 million full-text articles across a variety of subjects, making it a great place to start your research for almost any assignment.

You can access Credo Reference from the library homepage by selecting the “Databases A-Z” tab in the main search bar and selecting “Credo Reference (reference)” from the drop down menu. If you’re off campus, you will be prompted to login with your Wheelock username and password. Once you’re in Credo, you can do a basic search of your topic or browse books by subject. When you see something that looks interesting, click on the article title to read the article or email it to yourself for later. Don’t forget to grab a pre-formatted citation to get a head start on your works cited page!


Don’t forget to email the article to yourself and grab the citation.


And remember that the library offers drop-in research help 7 days a week, from noon until close. We can help you get started with your research in Credo or any of the library’s databases.




Get to Know Our Newest Student Employees

For this week’s blog post, I wanted to give our newest student employees a chance to introduce themselves by sharing a little bit about their experience working at the Library and about the services borrowing325x210located in the Library.

In total, the Library hired 11 new student workers this fall and I could not be more proud of how quickly they acclimated to their positions and proven themselves to be valuable members of the Library staff.

Here is what some of them had to say:

Mariana McNeil – Class of 2019

What you like about working at the Library: I always learn something new through the people that come here.

One service you think other students should know is offered at the Library: The Writing Center

Lauren Parks – Class of 2019

What you like about working at the Library: One thing I like about working at the library is meeting new people and helping patrons.

One service you think other students should know is offered at the Library: The library offers drop-in research help every day from noon to close.

Courtney Stage – Class of 2019

What you like about working at the Library: I like the people I work with and helping others out when needed.

One service you think other students should know is offered at the Library: The Writing Center and Peer Tutoring

Ashley Wight– Class of 2019

What you like about working at the Library: After working at the library for a month and a half, the thing I like most about working there is that I have so much knowledge about all the resources the library can offer.

Nicholas Freni– Class of 2019

What you like about working at the Library: I enjoy my coworkers as well as assisting patrons.

One service you think other students should know is offered at the Library: Peer Tutoring

Virginia Hardy– Class of 2018

What you like about working at the Library: I like a few things about working at the library. First, is that I am able to interact with students and faculty of the Wheelock Community. Second, I have learned new skills in helping patrons, library research, and accessing resources. And third, I get to work in a calm learning environment.

One service you think other students should know is offered at the Library: I think other students should know that the library provides technology and museum passes.

Arianna Saunders– Class of 2018

What you like about working at the Library: : I like floor 2M.

One service you think other students should know is offered at the Library: Peer Tutoring

Learn to Do Just About Anything with LogoIf you’ve ever frantically Googled how to do something in a certain software program or wished you had a step-by-step guide to new programs, Wheelock has a great new resource for you available through the Earl Center. provides more than 2,400 online video courses on topics in technology for education, audio and video production, business, print and web design, programming, photography, and 3D and animation. courses are broken down into short videos of 10 minutes or less, narrated by professionals who take you through every step in the learning process. So you can do a complete course in one sitting, break it up by video or by chapter, or search for the specific task or topic without committing to a several hour course. All the tutorials include transcripts to help you follow along, and many options to adjust the speed of playback, toggle a pop-out window or bookmark specific points in a video. You can also use Lynda through their iOS and Android apps.

Lynda Screenshot

An example of the interface.

Not sure where to start? Check out some of the playlists our library staff members have created!

Tip: Click the “Save this playlist” button and log in to move the playlist to your personal account and watch at your leisure.

And of course, you can always explore on your own by selecting from the Databases A-Z tab on the library website. The summer is the perfect time to finally pursue that skill you’ve been telling yourself you’d learn!

Find great courses you think should be highlighted in a library playlist or a research guide? Comment below or send us an email.

Brand New Videocameras!

This summer, the Library purchased several new additions to our AV collection, including Kodak PlayTouch flash memory digital camcorders.

These lightweight, easy-to-use models can upload digital footage quickly to a computer.  You’ll need to supply your own SD memory card, available for cheap at Best Buy.

Wheelock students may check out these cameras, along with the rest of the Library’s AV equipment collection (digital voice recorders, digital cameras, and the older miniDV tape videocameras) for 7 days at a time.  If you ever need help operating AV equipment, get in touch with Jeff Pearson, Library Technology Specialist, at or 617-879-2223.

Also, suggestions for new equipment are always welcome!