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The Cell: An Image Library-CCDB – Tutorial Part 1

Setting up and using a free account

Although you don’t need an account to use The Cell (and many features are available without one), a free personal account gives users some additional features. In this tutorial you will learn how to set up an account, define Areas of Interest, and create and tag images to Photoboxes.

Setting up a free account at The Cell is very, very easy and quick. Simply go to https://cellimagelibrary.org/accounts/login_prompt and complete the Create a User Account form:

The screen will open up to the ‘What’s New for Me’ page and inform you that you currently have no ‘Areas of Interest’ specified.


Defining Areas of Interest

To define your ‘Areas of Interest’, simply select the ‘Profile’ link on the left side of the screen. This will take you to the ‘Profile’ page where you can define your ‘Areas of Interest’.


When defining your ‘Areas of Interest’, remember the following tips from the online search help:

  • Use double quotes to restrict the search to an exact phrase, e.g. ‘basal body’ will locate images annotated with the two word phrase ‘basal body’ rather than the individual words basal or body
  • You can combine words or phrases by using capitalized AND, OR, NOT, e.g. basal AND body will locate images annotated with both keywords basal and body. A search query using basal NOT body will locate images that are annotated with the keyword ‘basal’ but not with the word ‘body’.

Be sure to select ‘Save Profile Changes’ to add these Areas of Interest to your profile.

Returning to the ‘What’s New for Me’ page will show you the top six results from the last 30 days for each of your Areas of Interest. If there are more than six results, you will see a ‘more’ button, if there are fewer than six results you will be offered the option to search earlier images.

Each time the user returns, the images on the ‘What’s New for Me’ page change to reflect the images from the last 30 days. This effectively customizes the experience with The Cell to start with those areas of research that are most interesting to that user.


Selecting the ‘Photoboxes’ button on the left will take you to the ‘My Photoboxes’ page. To create a photobox, select the ‘create new photobox’ link. This will bring up the ‘Edit Photobox’ page:


Simply name the photobox and, if you wish, provide a brief description to help in defining the Photobox. After that, simply select the ‘Create Photobox’ button. Once a user has created Photoboxes, every time they log in, they will see an additional ‘+Add to Photobox’ link in The Cell. For example when searching for ‘mitosis’, you will find the ‘+Add to Photobox’ link under each image:


When selecting the ‘Add to Photobox’ link, you will be given the option of which Photobox to add the image to.


Notice that you can also create a new Photobox at this step. Be sure to click ‘Add Image’ after selecting the appropriate Photobox. Photoboxes can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Returning to the Profile page and then selecting ‘Photoboxes’ will return a page something like this;


Researchers can aggregate images based on different research areas and teachers can use it to organize images for different lessons.

This tutorial is the first in a series. What else would you like to see? Please let us know, or email us with any questions or suggestions for other tutorials.

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