Archives Live Lab

The Archives Live Lab is a system that Archives staff developed that creates an interactive virtual environment for students to engage with primary source materials. By repurposing existing hardware and software and making some minor upgrades we've created an environment that lets us maintain social distance and still offers the opportunity to share our unique collections with students. Helpful website pages to review about archival holdings can be found in the Faculty Resources section and the CBMR collections page. 


Do I have to visit the Archives in person to use the Live Lab?

No. While we do recommend faculty use the Live Lab in person, with enough lead time we can plan a session where faculty remotely connect to the Live Lab.  With a remote connection faculty can still appear on camera to address their class while directing Archives staff members' interaction with materials. 

Does it have to be live?

If scheduling a live session is a problem for any reason, an alternative is for Archives staff to create a video reviewing a set of materials faculty requested that the faculty member can then present to their class at a later date. Supplemental documents, including background information of collections and worksheets, can also be supplied.

This option sacrifices the interactivity of a Live Lab session, however, it is another useful tool for any class.

Can I use archival material that is under copyright?

Yes, however, using such material would limit online publishing options.  Archives already retains any videos produced with the system for you to use later, but if your goal is to publish the video online, we’d  work with you ahead of time to identify materials based on your publishing or private video choice. Ultimately, the Archives is responsible for the rights surrounding the use of materials being live streamed and/or recorded for use and we abide by the U.S. Copyright regulations for the material we hold in the campus archival collections.   Depending on the primary materials used, the videos can be shown outside the system, once we work with you to determine the type of recording and the content to be used in the video to ensure adherence to copyright law and donor gift agreements pertaining to use.

Can I bring in my own material for the session?

Yes, however faculty should be aware of the limitations. One issue is that students cannot follow up to view faculty’s private collection material in the future, while material from our collections will always be available.  While faculty may have a deep understanding of the material in their own collections, Archives staff may not be able to answer questions about supplemental materials. Faculty-supplied materials would also have to be assessed by Archives for copyright issues.

What happens to the recordings? 

All live streamed and pre-recorded sessions are retained in the Archives for your future Columbia College Chicago classroom use. Depending on the rights involved with the materials featured in the session, some recordings can be used outside the Columbia College Chicago remote classroom and Archives staff can assist with selecting materials suitable for your long-term teaching needs.  

How do I start using the Live Lab?

Contact us at and talk with us about your class. We’ll collaborate with you to identify materials and plan your session.

Any materials from the College Archives & Special Collections, the Focused Collections  Book Room, and the Center for Black Music Research can be used in Live Lab sessions. Archives holds materials in support of subjects taught at Columbia, but not all are listed, so please contact us so we can work with you to match our holdings to your class needs.  

Contact Us
  (312) 369-7120
  Staff Listing


mapView in Google Maps

  College Archives and Special Collections
at Columbia College Chicago
619 South Wabash Avenue, Suite 201
Chicago, IL 60605