DaVinci Resolve: Learning the Interfaces

DaVinci Resolve is a very powerful open-source video editing program. Its strength lies in its segmented workflow, allowing the user to work on the project in stages from beginning to completion. The variety of different interfaces the program presents you with may be daunting and confusing at first, but it gives you different opportunities to change the interface to suit your needs. In this tutorial, I will show you the different interfaces for each “stage” of post-production; then I will demonstrate how to customize those given interfaces.

If you don’t already have DaVinci Resolve, you can download the program for free here.

The Basics
Media Menu

Screenshot of the Media Menu in DaVinci Resolve with File Explorer and Media Pool highlighted

The first stage of post-production is assembling your project files. In the file explorer, it is important to keep all of the files you plan to use in your project in the same directory. From that directory, you can import you files by right-clicking and selecting “Add Into Media Pool” or by dragging it into the media pool (the bottom panel). You can also drag your files from the Windows File Explorer to the Media Pool. In the middle-center of the interface is the preview panel, where you can preview a file before importing it. On the right side is an audio panel, which provides equalizer and waveform representations of audio levels, and the metadata panel, which includes embedded information about the file.

Cut Menu

Screenshot of the Cut Menu in DaVinci Resolve

The Cut Menu is an interesting addition to the editing process. While you are able to cut your clips in the next menu (the edit menu), the cut menu has a specific view that allows you to focus in on a specific spot you want to cut. This is set up like an old school film cutting machine where the cutting line is fixed in the center and the clip is moved from left to right. This view is best suited for trimming down your clips to the length you want them to be before moving onto more complicated edits.

Edit Menu

Screenshot of Edit Menu in DaVinci Resolve, with Media Pool and Timeline highlighted

The Edit Menu is the menu that is most similar to other video editing programs. The interface has multiple audio and video tracks, and more can be added by right-clicking. By default, the timeline is on the bottom, the timeline preview is on top, and the media library is to the left.

Fusion Menu

Screenshot of Fusion Menu in DaVinci Resolve with Nodes highlighted

Fusion is Resolve’s interpretation of compositing and effects in the post-production process. In many video editing suites, the composites and effects would be applied directly to the timeline. Here, it’s on its own menu with its own interface and workflow to apply effects. The effects are applied by creating a chart with lines that connect to the in and out video points of the clip. You can add bubbles, called Nodes, to the chain of effects that represent text, noise, and other image transformations. Since this process may be unfamiliar to many, the Recording Studios has a video tutorial that explains how to use Fusion in more detail.

Color Menu

Screenshot of the Color Menu in DaVinci Resolve with Color Settings and Nodes highlighted

Like the Fusion Menu, the Color Menu also has a chart-and-node-based interface for applying effects. In this menu, the nodes panel is in the right side of the window by default instead of the bottom of the window. The bottom panel on the Color Menu contains several effects related to color correction, including wheels that tweak the values of different light and dark parts of the image, and a center channel that can be changed between multiple different menus, including color curves, windows, and qualifiers. There is a video tutorial on how to use the Color Menu.

Fairlight Menu

Screenshot of the Fairlight Menu in DaVinci Resolve with Track Volumes, Timeline, and Mixers highlighted

The Fairlight Menu is an in-depth sound mixing interface. At the top of the interface is a row of equalizer bars that displays up to 39 audio tracks at once, as well as control room and loudness levels. The bottom half of the interface displays a timeline of all the audio tracks so they can be trimmed and edited, and the right side of the interface has mixers for the output audio.

Deliver Menu

Screenshot of Deliver Menu in DaVinci Resolve with Export Settings and Timeline highlighted

Deliver is the final stage of post-production, in which you select the settings that best optimize the project for export to a video file. It provides a timeline view to make any last minute changes to the project, as well as a view above that of all the clips that you have added to the timeline. You can click on any of these clips and it will take you to the part of the timeline where that clip is located. On the left side of the Deliver Menu is the export settings. You can choose from a number of different presets that fit commonly used website formats, or make a custom choice of the format, resolution, and directory. After selecting those, you add the project to the render queue on the right side of the window, then select “render all” to start exporting your projects.

Customizing Your Interfaces
While it may seem that the multiple interfaces offered by DaVinci Resolve offer little room to change what the interface looks like, there are many ways to customize the windows onscreen and make the view suit your needs. The easiest way to do this is to click on the “workspace” option on the top window bar, and hover over the option “show panel in workspace.” This shows a list of all the available windows in your view that you can turn on or off.

Screenshot of DaVinci Resolve
Screenshot of DaVinci Resolve

For example, in the media view, I may think I want more space for the timeline, and I am finished with dragging items from the media pool onto the timeline. I can uncheck Media Pool in the list of viewable workspace items, and that makes more room to use the timeline with.

You can also click and drag the margins of each window to scale its size relative to other windows. Unlike Adobe Premiere, Resolve does not offer the ability to pop out a portion of the view into its own window. For this reason, the user experience of DaVinci Resolve is greatly improved by using multiple monitors.

Conclusion
The biggest hurdle for new users of DaVinci Resolve to clear is the unfamiliar interfaces and understanding what the new interfaces are used for. Once you understand that each of the new interfaces reflect their own discrete stage of the editing process, you should get used to the workflow of DaVinci Resolve quickly. Hopefully, this tutorial is able to explain what each of the interface views allows you to do in building a cohesive video project.

Listen to the audio version of this tutorial here:

Restoring Agency with Subject Analysis: Daniela Saunders and the Freedom House Inc. Collection

The Freedom House digitization project has been an ongoing effort to make the archival records of the Freedom House Inc. Records available through the Digital Repository Service (DRS). Initially begun as a photograph-focused endeavor in 2007, the project has expanded to the print records of the collection with the aim to make broadly accessible the documentary evidence of Freedom House’s activities in community activism and urban renewal in Roxbury during the mid-to-late 20th century.

Introduction
Part of the digitization process includes the creation of metadata for each record so that people can find an individual item with the sea of documents. Metadata is the identifying information of a record, such as its title, author, creation date, and other components.

Recently, archivists have placed greater emphasis on the subject heading aspect of cataloging records.1 Archivists now recognize that the creation of subjects and descriptions as access points to a record is an inherently biased activity that can influence how one approaches and perceives the record itself and the topics it contains. While these access points are extremely helpful in improving search results, these pathways are created by archivists, i.e. people. Since archivists create metadata, the data reflects our perspectives, thereby making it imperative that we be mindfully aware of our unconscious biases. We must do the necessary self-evaluative work about ourselves, the power dynamics in which we function, and the multifarious impacts of our decisions on various groups.

Records are created within certain settings for certain purposes—whether political or social—and an archivist inserts the meta-narrative layer of collecting and making accessible those records. There is power in that process and traditionally the process has privileged dominant social systems, which then reinforces social inequities. The myth of neutrality in subject cataloging has led to subject headings that can reinforce biases, stereotypes, and offensive representations, as well as misrepresent and alienate marginalized communities. For instance, a reclassification project at GBH recognized the negative false equivalence of police only interacting with criminals in their legacy subject term “Law Enforcement & Crimes,” which they have changed to “Legal System.”2

Recently, many archivists have risen to the challenge of acknowledging the persistency of power dynamics and are actively seeking to infuse their metadata creation with inclusion, diversity, and social justice practices. I myself have recently undertaken the ethical reasoning behind the use of certain subject headings to achieve descriptions that not only increase searchability and accuracy but also are respectful and empowering to subjects previously ignored. It is my hope that by developing cultural competency, the records will be more accessible to the communities reflected in their content, which may be one small step towards actively dismantling oppressive systems.

The Collection and Daniela Saunders
As I digitized the Freedom House Inc. Records, I stumbled upon an eye-opening folder about the Police-Community Relations Committee. The records from this folder of items from 1960 to 1966 document a growing awareness in Roxbury of police-community relation issues. At the time, there were community memories of problems and instances a decade prior. Back in 1952, the murder of Rabbi Zuber sparked meetings calling for community action. However, the initial uproar dwindled and while close relations and neighbors continued to fight for change, it was a small endeavor.

Scanned image of a paper reading: "Co-operating Organizations: International Association of Chiefs of Police, Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, Massachusetts Department of Probation, Massachusetts Youth Service Board, Massachusetts Department of Correction, Boston College Law School, Northeastern Region, National Conference of Christian and Jews. Purpose: The basic purpose of the Institute is to help improve communication between police and community leaders through the discussion of problems of concern to police, other law enforcement agencies, and public and private community agencies. Specifically, the TALKS AND DISCUSSION WILL BE IN THE AREAS OF HUMAN RELATIONS PROBLEMS, POPULATION CHANGES, JUVENILE-ADULT RELATIONSHIPS, THE POLICE ROLE, THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS, AND IN RELATED AREAS.
Mission statement from “Program of Police – Community Relations Institute with notes about National Conference of Christians and Jews police – community relations, March 29 and 30, 1960.” February 29, 1968. Freedom House Inc. records (M16_B030_F1015_004) Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts Box 30, Folder 1015

Some larger efforts did persist, including a Police-Community Relations Institute Conference held in 1960 that connected with religious organizations to discuss the relations between mass media, social work agencies, the judicial court system, civil rights, legislation, and the police. However, the improvements called for in the decade of discussions did not become sweeping real-world improvements. As a result, over the course of a year between the summers of 1962 and 1963, there were a number of stranglings of women in the greater Boston area.3

On January 5, 1963, 16-year-old Daniela Saunders was murdered in an alleyway between Warren Street and Elm Hill Park, just a few blocks from her home. The next day, 500 members of her community met with Otto P. Snowden and Freedom House to discuss what underlying social problems led to the tragedy. Initiated by a small group of mothers voicing the need to prevent such violence, the meeting expanded to the 500-person turnout. Many individuals voiced their perspectives on the issue:

  • Dewey Duckett outlined the general disinterest of the Boston Police Department Division 9 towards the community it was supposed to protect. He talked about how “the local police had clearly evidenced an incapacity to understand or respect either the local citizens themselves or their simple desire for minimal adequate protection.”4
  • Attorney Benjamin Johnson called for the creation of a 100-person auxiliary police of community members.
  • Mrs. Leona Tynes cited the practical issue of poor lighting facilities.
  • Mrs. Oswald Jordan recalled the aftermath of Rabbi Zuber’s murder and described the emotional toll of these types of meetings over the last decade since they had not led to any actual change.

At the end of the meeting, the goal was set to create a committee to meet with city officials, namely Commissioner Edmund L. McNamara, Captain Paul Sullivan, and Sergeant Kelly of Division 9. The other four main suggestions were to add foot patrolmen; ensure that police answered complaints with courtesy instead of their current lack of sensitivity; increase the effort to improve problem areas; and fire police that demonstrated bias towards the black community.

Scanned image of a report that reads: As a result of all of the foregoing, the following suggestions were made: 1. That foot patrolmen be assigned to certain designated trouble spots in the area such as: Warren St., Humboldt Ave., Blue Hill Ave., Grove Hall and Seaver Street. 2. That police take steps to clean up known areas of houses of ill repute and illicit operation. 3. That the police commissioner order policemen to answer citizens' complaints promptly and courteously. 4. No policeman be retained on the force who fails to accord Negroes the same prompt, courteous protection which is due all citizens of Boston. The people were specifically concerned with the attitude of the police toward the Negro citizens of Roxbury and their laxity in the performance of their duty. Four of the many cases presented which graphically illustrate these concerns will be cited now. The meeting adjourned at 11:50 p.m.
Suggestions from “Report from special community meeting about police issues, Daniela Saunders and Rabbi Zuber murders, and race relations held January 6, 1963.” January 6, 1963. Freedom House Inc. records (M16) Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts Box 30, Folder 1015

Another meeting held January 8, 1962, at the Jeremiah E. Burke School further expanded the four main issues. About 1,500 citizens gathered to demand change. Kenneth Guscott, representing the NAACP, called for a Villante Committee similar to what the Peace Corps created in Harlem. Police Commissioner McNamara personally attended this meeting, although he was met with objections when he attempted to downplay his former neglect by referring to his personal connection with a black member of the police force.

The various efforts aimed to “promote a better understanding between the protected and the protector.”5 The end goal was a positive coordinated action program formulated and carried out by neighborhood associations in affiliation with the local police. Along with Mayor John F. Collins and Commissioner McNamara’s immediate pledges to increase training in criminal investigation and compulsory attendance of courses at Northwest University and the FBI National Academy, the events led to long-term communication between the Roxbury community, city officials, and the police. The Freedom House Inc. Records reflect and display these sustained efforts.

Two scanned pages of a document reading: Outline on Various Phases of Police Activities I. REASON - The need for a singular approach to a singular, many faceted problem of law enforcement, calling for the concerted efforts on the part of the many City departments, to bring about a coordinated action program as viewed by the man on the scene. II. PURPOSE - To contribute towards the above-mentioned coordinated action program, in outline form, positive constructive suggestions with an accent on the POSITIVE approach, rather than via negative destructive criticism. III. GOAL - A New Look Program IV. OBJECTIVE - Through a smooth cohesive combined movement of various City Departments in conjunction with the Police Department, to come forth with plans insured of maximum efficiency with a minimum amount of expenditures on the part of those involved. A. Coordination EXAMPLE NO. 1: Fire Dept. with Police Dept. a. Reduce number of false alarms; by pinpointing the trouble areas, operational City costs will be lowered, as each fire alarm, false or otherwise, costs the City approximately $600. EXAMPLE NO. 2: Sanitation Dept. with Police Dept. a. Law enforcement (A tow-way street). Strict enforcement of the sanitation laws; picking up all complaints of littering, improper disposal of trash from windows into lots or backyards and so forth. (In this way, the police will get to know the people he is dealing with; whether poor and law-abiding or poor, without regard for law and order). EXAMPLE NO. 3: Police Dept. with Social Agencies (UCS) a. Referral reports to be made where repeated calls complaining of disorderly conduct, and the like, bring the patrolman into family groups where it is very obvious that the home environment is so out of line as to very definitely evidence its adverse effects in the conduct, attitude, attire and educational status of the numerous children therein. This would also include where there was pointed neglect in the feeding, housing and guidance of these unfortunate youngsters, and where there was physical and mental distress of one kind or another. b. A short Referral form would put this case immediately under investigation of a social agency who will then endeavor to educate and guide the faulty member. c. This kind of follow through between the Police and the Social Agency would, in a definite way, meet the need on the home base, of preventative medicine in areas of juvenile delinquency, tuberculosis, etc. B. Cooperation - People and the Police Dept. a. Volunteer Police 1.) Strengthen the Auxiliary Police Branch, enlist more volunteer police. Recruitment requests to be made under advisement. C. Police Structure a. Expand subordinate levels of command 1.) Form a fine network for all trouble areas, starting right from the blocks to the streets, from the streets to the neighborhood, from there to the areas from areas to districts, from then on up to the precincts. (Auxiliary assistance.) 2.) Inspectors - A systematic step to insure the effectivity of a program of this type is through periodic inspection. If the crime rate has increased in one section, the responsible person, whether on a block level, or street, neighborhood, area, district or precinct, pinpoints the location and troubleshooters give a 24-hour kind of watch--he cleans up, makes his referral reports to said responsible person who does the same right on up to the man in the station under whom he falls. The total summation is then given to the head man--the Captain. This in no way changes the structure as it now stands but rather it puts subordinate authority under certain officers as appointed by the Captain of the station; this delegation of authority gives added strength to police operations, it means a sorting out of the problem that should be in the field of Sanitation Authorities, a Social Agency, Domestic Court, Truancy Dept. and irons out the hopeful method
Pages from “Outline on various phases of police activities.” April 28, 1964. Freedom House Inc. records (M16) Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts Box 30, Folder 1015
Scanned newspaper photo of Daniela Saunders with the caption reading: DANIELA M. SAUNDERS, 16, MURDER VICTIM Suffered Terrifying Death in Dark Roxbury Alley
Photograph from “Photocopy of newspaper article, Neighbors of slain girl hit lack of cops.” (Boston Record American), January 7, 1963. Freedom House Inc. records (M16) Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts Box 30, Folder 1015

Daniela Saunders’ Impact
The events of Daniela Saunders’ murder and the aftermath from Roxbury’s community response are integral components to the larger historic narrative of the police-community relations documented in the Freedom House Inc. Records. Her story may be limited to a folder in this vast collection but her impact disseminates through many boxes. So many activities were initiated by her tragic demise.

However, most metadata elements do not provide space for Daniela. She wasn’t the author or creator of the records, she was not included in the title of the records, and her name was often eliminated in the documents themselves. Within the records of Folder 1015, Daniela was more of a ghost, a whisper, trickled throughout the newspaper articles, letters, meeting minutes, and reports. She may have been the impetus for change, but she didn’t have agency in these metadata components.

Additionally, in the larger historic narrative, Daniela has been forgotten. She is currently not listed as one of the Boston Strangler’s 13 victims despite the connection to the “Phantom Strangler” made in 1963.6

Scanned image of a newspaper article reading: "Responsibility for the death of Daniela Saunders lies on the shoulders of every Roxbury resident. For it can be truly said that she is dead because she lived in Roxbury.
Quote from Kenneth I. Guscott, NAACP in “Photocopy of newspaper article, Peace Corps urged to aid hub police.” 1963. Freedom House Inc. records (M16) Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts Box 30, Folder 1015

When making the metadata for items in Folder 1015, I wanted to allow Daniela to regain her own agency in being remembered. The power of remembering is enormous—it becomes public memory and informs current events. Therefore, archival records provide an opportunity to bear witness to an event when it has been lost to time. I knew I needed a way to provide a pathway to Daniela and link her to these records. I produced these conditions by making Daniela a Name Subject Heading, a practice that we are not often implementing in the Freedom House Inc. digitization project. Due to the large scope of the collection and the logistical issues of maintaining authorized subject headings over 83 containers, Name Subject Headings for individuals are a rare occurrence.

However, with the addition of this metadata component, Daniela’s story becomes accessible to the public. She is no longer a passive victim, marginalized and obscured, but is now an active agent at the forefront of police-community relations in 1963 Roxbury. People can now find the records related to Daniela and they can situate her contribution within the larger Freedom House and Roxbury narratives.

Additionally, the records can give the public a resource for holding historical agents accountable. The 1960s were fraught with many issues between communities of color and the police nationwide. The events of 1963 in Roxbury become a part of that larger context.

Scanned newspaper photograph of Boston Police Commissioner Edmund McNamara leaning forward and listening to a large group of citizens. The caption reads: McNAMARA AND CRITIC - Boston police commissioner listens to complaint of a finger-shaking Roxbury resident while others await their turn.
Image from “Photocopy of Boston Globe article, 1000 in Roxbury jeer McNamara.” (Boston Globe), January 9, 1963. Freedom House Inc. records (M16) Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts Box 30, Folder 1015

Finally, by recognizing Daniela and the events of 1963, I hope that the records and their metadata have an enduring impact on our current society. Police brutality, racism, abuse, systematic oppression, and unnecessary force are all topics that we see in the news every day. Past calls for better training and systematic changes to the police force are similar to present-day news stories. We are constantly exposed to the reality of this violence and our nation collectively feels an emotional toll possibly similar to the one described by Mrs. Oswald Jordan in January 1963. Maybe these historic records can help inform our present discourse. By knowing what happened in the past, maybe we can make more informed decisions, and ultimately, be the change we strive to see.

For more information about police-community relations in the 1960s, you can visit the folders on Police-Community Relations Committee, 1960-1966; Police-Community relations, 1960-1966; and Police-Community Relations Conference of the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI), 1966. These folders 1015-1017 are newly available on the DRS website here.

1A non-comprehensive list of recent literature includes, Jillian Ewalt, “Toward Inclusive Description: Reparations through Community-Driven Metadata,” NEA Newsletter 46, no. 2 (April 2019): 4-7; Rosale de Mattos, “The Representation of Archival Information in Controlled Vocabularies: The Context of the Archival Institutions in Rio de Janeiro,” Knowledge Organization 47, no. 7 (2019): 548-557; Samuel J. Edge, “A Subject “Queer”-y: A Literature Review on Subject Access to LGBTIQ Materials,” Serials Librarian 75, no. 1-4 (Jul-Dec 2018): 81-90; Gracen Brilmyer, “Archival assemblages: applying disability studies’ political/relational model to archival description,” Archival Science 18, no. 2 (Jun 2018): 95-118.
2Miranda Villesvik and Raananah Sarid-Segal, “Making Metadata Inclusive to Marginalized Voices” (presentation, Archives for a Changing World, NEA Spring Conference, Virtual, March 27, 2021).
3The Boston Strangler continued to murder young women in the Boston area until 1964. For more information, see Ronald Lettieri, “Boston Strangler.” Salem Press Encyclopedia (2019); Jess Bidgood, “50 Years Later, a Break in a Boston Strangler Case,” New York Times, July 11, 2013; Paul Hoblin, Boston Strangler (Unsolved Mysteries). Abdo Publishing, 2012; Susan Kelly, The Boston Stranglers: The Public Conviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of Eleven Shocking Murders. Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Pub. Group, 1995.
4“Report from special community meeting about police issues, Daniela Saunders and Rabbi Zuber murders, and race relations held January 6, 1096.” January 6, 1963. Freedom House Inc. Records (M16). Northeastern University Library. Archives and Special Collections Department. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. Box 30, Folder 1015.
5“Outline on various phases of police activities.” April 28, 1964. UASC identifier: M16_B030_F1015_005. Freedom House Inc. Series 3: Programs. Sub-Series B: Urban Renewal. Neighborhood Associations. Police-Community Relations Committee, 1960-1966.
6Jack Thomas, “Victims of the Boston Strangler,” The Boston Globe, July 11, 2013. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/07/11/victims-boston-strangler/CwbsZlSNcfwmhSetpqNlhL/story.html

Library Transitions from Nexis Uni to Access World News and WestLaw Campus Research

Beginning on June 30, the Northeastern University Library will no longer be subscribing to the database Nexis Uni, transitioning instead to a pair of databases – Access World News and Westlaw Campus Research – that together provide even more news and law resources through much easier user interfaces.

Why replace Nexis Uni?
Over the years, Nexis Uni has been removing much of its content while steadily increasing its prices. That combination, along with a difficult-to-use interface, has led many libraries and institutions to cancel their subscriptions and put money toward more cost-effective and user-friendly databases and resources.

Access World News database logo

What new databases should I be using instead?
For the cost of Nexis Uni, the Library was able to acquire access to two new databases that, together, provide much of the same content in a far easier-to-use format. Access World News Research Collection from Newsbank includes current and archived news content from more than 12,700 sources, spanning over 200 countries and territories and combining all formats (full-text articles, web-only content, and PDF image collections) in a single interface. You can browse Access’ full list of sources here.

Westlaw logo

For legal and business content, Westlaw Campus Research contains primary and secondary legal sources including statutes, codes, and case law, as well as the American Jurisprudence legal encyclopedia. On the business side, it contains tools like Hoover’s and the Company Investigator, which provides public and private company information and hard-to-find information on small businesses and partnerships. It also can be used to prepare company reports using visual graphics. This reference guide provides detailed information how to use Westlaw.

Other databases also provide useful news resources, including Factiva (which includes access to business news, including the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s); Pressreader (which covers daily news in more than 100 countries); and ProQuest News and Newspapers (which includes current and archival access to newspapers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, and Los Angeles Times, as well as more than 80 local and regional titles).

In addition, Northeastern University students, faculty, and staff can access the Wall Street Journal‘s website by using their NU credentials by going to wsj.com/northeastern.

Will I lose any saved resources I have in Nexis Uni?
Items saved to folders will become inaccessible in July. If you would like to keep these materials, please sign and in and use the options for downloading or emailing your folders. Folders can also be sent to OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox.

For more information on available resources, please contact your subject librarian!

Archives Research Project Included in “The Teaching with Primary Sources Cookbook”

Take 2 library professionals.
Add 25 high school students.
Mix in a specially curated collection of archival materials.
And let simmer over a 90-minute class period.

Cover image of The Teaching with Primary Sources Cookbook, edited by Julie M. Porterfield

This is the recipe Reference and Outreach Librarian Molly Brown and Arts, Humanities, and Experiential Learning Library Regina Pagani have perfected while working with students and teachers from the Boston Public Schools over the past few years and it is now included in The Teaching with Primary Sources Cookbook, a collection of first-hand accounts from librarians, archivists, and other educators who use primary sources to teach information literacy skills to various audiences.


Brown and Pagani’s project is detailed in chapter 28 and titled “A Potluck of Expertise: Inviting Boston Public Schools’ Juniors to Use Northeastern’s Archives and Special Collections’ Pantry to Build Their Recipes.” They detail an ongoing project they have developed with BPS educators Chris Madsen and Katherine Petta where students work in groups to write a biography of an activist who advocated for racial equality in Boston’s public schools, using primary sources from the Archives’ vast social justice collections.

Regina Pagani and Molly Brown teach a class of students in the Archives Reading Room
Regina Pagani and Molly Brown (standing) lead Lucy Maulsby’s architecture class on a lesson in archival research, similar to the types of classes they teach to BPS juniors. Photo courtesy of Mary Hughes.

The chapter provides a detailed account of the project, with suggestions for ways to alter it based on different archives’ collections. The 2021 edition of The Teaching with Primary Sources Cookbook, edited by Julie M. Porterfield, is available through the American Library Association.

To learn more about the different ways Brown, Pagani and other Northeastern University Library staff members have utilized the Archives’ unique collections to teach primary source research to students at Northeastern and at the Boston Public Schools, visit the Teaching with Archives page.

Library Adds OverDrive to Digital Collections

The library is thrilled to announce that we are now providing access to OverDrive e-books and audiobooks courtesy of the Massachusetts SAILS network of libraries. OverDrive offers thousands of popular fiction and nonfiction titles that can be accessed on a variety of devices via web browser or app.

OverDrive offers many features that make it a welcome addition to our collection. With this service, we’re now able to offer a much wider range of popular and leisure titles, including magazines and children’s materials. Not sure what you’re in the mood for? OverDrive offers curated reading lists and intuitive searching by keyword, subject, or availability. And if we don’t have what you’re looking for, you can recommend a purchase within the OverDrive app.

Perhaps the best feature of OverDrive is that you can read books or listen to audiobooks on a variety of devices, including Nooks and iPads/iPhones. OverDrive also integrates seamlessly with Amazon for Kindle users. While you can access OverDrive via web browser, your experience is optimized when using either of the OverDrive apps. The Libby app makes it easy to switch between multiple library collections if you are also using e-books and audiobooks at your local public library, while the classic OverDrive app includes some features that are not yet available in the Libby app, such as streaming video and recommendations, as well as compatibility with Kindle Fire, mp3 players, and screen readers. Either app will allow you to read or listen to your loans, as well as manage your account.

OverDrive homepage

It’s important to note that we lease a limited number of copies of each digital title, which means that there may be a wait list for popular titles, just like with print books. Fortunately, OverDrive makes it easy to place holds and build wish lists with just a click of a button, and if a hold becomes available before you’re ready to read it, you can postpone your hold until a later time.

Because titles and availability are subject to change without notice and copies of individual titles are limited, OverDrive is not considered an appropriate resource for course materials. Materials available via OverDrive are also not listed in Scholar OneSearch, as titles are not permanent additions to our collection. Please contact your department’s subject librarian with questions about access to assigned course materials.

When you’re ready to explore our new OverDrive offerings, go to sails.overdrive.com, where you’ll be asked to select Northeastern University as your home library and then provide your MyNEU credentials. For more help, see our e-book reference guide or ask a librarian.

Happy reading!