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Research Guides

Resources for Wellesley Plus Lab: Manage Your Digital Life


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Note: Many tools in Sakai sites, such as Announcements, will list the class name in the email - either as the sender or the subject. Emails you receive notifying you about forum posts are only titled "New Message Posted to Sakai by ..." but they contain the site info in the body of the email. For example:

Location > SAMP 100 01 F13 > Forums > SAMP 100 01 F13 > General Discussion > Found an interesting article

Forum notifications in Sakai: to receive (or turn off) notifications of new forum posts, you can go to the Forums area of your course site, and click the Watch link in the grey bar at the top of the page. Then select your preferred option and click Save.

More Useful Tips

  • Set up Multiple Inboxes to highlight messages tagged with labels or with certain content. For example, you could create an Inbox for all course content coming from Sakai.
  • Advanced searching in Gmail - helpful when setting up Multiple Inboxes and Filters, and useful on its own to find an email


Where can you store files?

Google Drive 30 GB Upload to web
or sync with computer
Sakai > My Workspace > Resources 1 GB Upload to web
Use Cyberduck for folders
Non-Wellesley Cloud (Dropbox,, etc)

5 GB Free
more storage for
annual fee

Upload to web
or sync with computer
Physical storage (USB sticks, external hard drives, etc) 1 GB - many TB  


Organizing your files


Naming Files

Imagine you’re a professor getting assignments from an entire class. What might the files they get be named like? Do you think it might look like this?

  • Assignment1.docx
  • Assignment1.docx
  • Assignment1.docx

How frustrating! Fortunately, you can help your professors by naming your files descriptively.

Here are some tips for naming files:

  • don't use special characters (periods, commas, slashes, sometimes spaces) in the file name
  • use hyphens or underscores as spacers
  • include your username!
  • include the class or professor
  • include version: draft #, final, other descriptive language

Now imagine you're that same professor, but everyone has named their files well. This might be their new list of file names:

  • wwellesley-econ101-assignment-1-final.docx
  • ajohnson3-coile-econ101-assignment1.docx
  • clee15-econ101-assignment1-revision2.docx

This makes it much easier for the professor to know who belongs to which paper! 

Of course, if your professor asks you to name your files a certain way, be sure to do so.



Creating Versions of Papers and Projects

Don't lose first drafts, final documents, revisions, or the steps in-between. Instead, save versions of your papers and projects. How?

  • Naming files differently is one way (see above for suggestions)
  • To create a new version of a document
    • in Word, open your original file, then select File > Save As... and give your file a new name.
    • in Google Docs, open your original file, then select File > Create a Copy of this Document... and give your new document a new name
  • Other ways include using Microsoft Word's track changes feature or Google docs history.


Email: Subjects & Messages

What makes a good subject line for an email to a professor?

  • Descriptive
  • On-topic

Example of a bad subject line: Question

Example of a good subject line: SOC 137 - question about sources for paper 2

Other email suggestions for your professors:

  • You are writing an actual letter to your professor - it's digital, but it is a letter.
  • Be sure to use the appropriate forms of a letter.
    • Greeting: Dear Professor LastName, 
    • Text of the letter (tip: this should be exactly related to the subject line of the message)
    • Closing:  Thank you, Your Full Name
  • Use proper punctuation and capitalization.
  • Use full sentences.
  • Don't use text shortcuts (e.g. u for you, ur for you're, etc.)
  • If you are concerned about your spelling skills, use Gmail's built-in Check Spelling function before you send your email.
  • Be conscious that your professors may have specific ways they deal with email. Some professors spell out their email policies in their syllabi. Pay attention to them. Other professors don't have explicit policies; in those cases it is safest to assume they do not answer email after business hours and - for example - will not reply to your frantic message at 11:00pm about an 8:30am exam.


  • A Firefox plugin or stand-alone program with connectors for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
  • Used for collecting, managing, and citing sources.
  • Normally installed on all public library machines.

Want to learn how to use Zotero? Check out these Zotero guides (the last one is Wellesley-specific).


How does tracking changes work? 

Configuring tracking changes in Microsoft Office