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Monday, November 20, 2006

Communicating Science through Video

Pedro Beltrao just posted about the Journal of Visualized Experiments, publishing videos of biological experiments. Submissions are supposed to be reviewed within 2 weeks and it is Open Access.

It really is true that we can save an awful lot of words with a quick video or image when reporting experiments. Even for ostensibly simple procedures like distillation it is amazing how everyone in our group had different assumptions about a "standard setup". In these cases the pics were invaluable to fill in for everything not said in the log. Videos are usually even more useful because the dynamics of a reaction can be ascertained. We have found that YouTube is a good place to post these because it is a public hosted site and the delay in showing up after uploading is just a few minutes usually. Google video can host much longer videos but it can take days to be accessible.

I can hear some cringing because this does not immediately move us towards the use of the semantic web to do science and facilitate automation. But lets not forget that the first priority for a scientist has to be effective and efficient communication of what they have done and it is hard to top the message richness delivered through video.

Even explaining the analysis of an experiment is really convenient using an audio/video interface (a screencast to be precise).


  • I've found that Google videos are just as fast as Youtube, however, there is an extra step - you have to log into your account and add the tags before it will be posted. It is an extra step and it doesn't automatically take you there after you upload the video. I don't know if that is the case for you or not. I think the concept of sharing videos of scientific experiments is such a great documentation and sharing tool for scientists and can speed things with multiple eyes viewing results. Great post!

    By Blogger Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher, at 8:11 PM  

  • Vicki,
    I don't know what the difference is but Google video always takes several days for me while YouTube is usually about 10 minutes. I always add tags right away. My Google video uploads are generally about an hour, which may be why it takes so long.

    By Blogger Jean-Claude Bradley, at 6:14 AM  

  • I used Google video before, have not find time to try
    YouTube. I'll try tomorrow and compare.

    Thanks n Happy Holidays

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:48 AM  

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