Screencasts for scientists.
November 15, 2007 1 Comment
So you have just installed a new piece of software you need to go about your work. You fire the thing up for the first time. Getting that sinking feeling already? Is the software in keeping with the fine traditions of academic software which only a minimalist or non-existent user interface? Software that has been written with the “user-friendliness is for wimps” mantra and is as usable as a blended iPod? Gromacs keeping you up at night? And the only way to cope with it all, is to work through large heaps of documentation (if existent?).
Well, there may be a solution on the horizon: Bioscreencast. Screencast is a a free video-tutorial library specifically for science-related software tools. The number of tutorials is small so far (the site is in beta), but it contains all sorts of useful things from how to use BLAST and sequence alignment tools to PyMol tips and tricks and ideas for the “paperless PhD”:
Much to my delight I have also discovered a screencast on how to model physical objects in OWL:
and there are further tutorials on how to use Reference Managers, Connotea etc. Users can also request tutorials (one request is for an R tutorial (much needed I think), other users can vote for the request and someone can pick up the baton and produce a tute.
Furthermore, the site provides all the necesary functionality to capture a screencast: no software downloads etc….it’s a little bit like Seesmic. It seems like a great way to show off (new) software and tools, to demonstrate how to use them and to make a contribution to the community.
I will certainly have a think what we can contribute…and I would urge you to check out the site.