The Galaxy team at Penn State has a slew of new screencasts at going through the latest release of Galaxy.

As I have mentioned in the past, the Galaxy team really understands the medium and are using it effectively (along with wiki’s etc) to showcast the application. You can grab the RSS feed for all galaxy related screencasts

This screencast shows you how to look for protein coding transcripts among non-gencode ESTs


How often have you heard someone say ” I dont know how you look for something in there” . Database querying and search has become an essential skill to possess in this genomic age.  Be it PUBMED , FlyBase or the PDB, we all rely on these databases to find our everyday information.

As Jon Udell commented in  his article on search strategies, database querying is definitely a skill , and good searchers tend to have deep and hidden reservoirs of tacit skill that they can harness . And, as he says , like many other skills effective search can be learned.

We at believe that screencasts are a good way to capture user-database interactions . It was for this reason that we decided to have a category in our library called “Databases and Biosearch”.  Thanks to uploads like the recent one from the PDB , we have user uploaded screencasts that show you how to search databases, ranging from the new Uniprot database , the gaggle proteomics workbench to the Membrane Protein databank .

We hope that the next time you hit on a clever querying strategy  or put together a public database, you screencast it for us all to benefit from.

We are always wanting to get the word out about bioscreencast and the benefits of screencasting as a medium of sharing knowledge. The way we see it, we really want to get scientists and students alike sharing their screencasts on our site and try our best to tell everyone about it.

It felt nice to see our short spiel about our site featured on slideshare, which incidentally is a good way to share your presentations and slides with others.

Check out our slides on slideshare here

A similar post was posted at bbgm

The session on Communicating Science with Video at the Scifoo Lives On section on Second Nature (SLURL) was loads of fun. There were three presentations. I kicked things off by talking about Bioscreencast, then Jean-Claude gave a talk about how he has leveraged YouTube for recording experiments, and finally someone from SciVee gave a talk on SciVee. Berci live blogged the whole session.

Presenting Bioscreencast in Second Life
Picture credit – Berci Mesko via a Creative Commons license

The session was rather well attended. Both Hari and I were able to attend. I hope we gave people an idea of what Bioscreencast is all about and what we are trying to do. It was really cool to have the SciVee folks presenting as well and to find out a little more about the SciVee backstory. There were some excellent questions as well. One of the people in the audience, a social scientist (I forget the avatar) suggested that we host flash animations as well. That’s a wonderful idea and it fits into our philosophy of allowing people to learn via the web. The barrier to creating flash animations is a lot higher, so we don’t expect too many, but looking forward to our first one. In general, I am looking forward to questions and screencasts from today’s attendees.

I also put up a modified (longer) version of today’s presentation on Slideshare.

As usual, silence from our end means that we are busy working on making an even better experience. So keep your eyes on this page, since we have a couple of really cool updates up our sleeves.

In the meantime you might want to check out some screencasts about MYourScience, UniProt and OWL

That was the question that arose after the announcement of SciVee. One only needs to see recent blog posts across the life science blogosphere to realize there there are a number of video-related life science sites that have arisen in a very short period of time. For convenience, I am going to stick to three, since they fill, at least in my mind, complementary roles in the life science video landscape. It also helps us figure out where Bioscreecast fits in the life scientists arsenal.JoVE to my mind is the most ambitious project. Being able to capture experiments (visual experiments) with high quality production is no easy task, but having met Moshe and Nikita recently, I think they can pull it off. The challenge is always going to be on the user end. If we are at the tipping point, people are going to become a lot more comfortable opening up their labs to a video camera. If nothing else, SciVee and JoVE suggest that video is a viable form of communicating formal science.Which brings us to Bioscreencast, and why I think there is a ton of scope here. Screencasts are easy to do, especially compared to other forms of video. In theory, all you need to do is turn on a video screencapture software app and do what you need to do, with the one caveat that recording a narrative at the same time is usually a good idea and probably the one thing that needs some thought prior to starting the screencast recording. We see ourselves as more of an informal user generated site, where the power comes from diverse content uploaded by people with different backgrounds. We all have something to share. Hopefully people will choose to share their software chops on Bioscreencast.Video is just hitting the tipping point in mainstream consumer usage, where more and more people are spending their time uploading material to YouTube, creating content and hosting it on Brightcove or, or like I do, In the world of science, there are a number of people, some listed here who have developed platforms that enable those who are interested to take advantage of the tangibility and immediacy of video. The future is now!!!

“We’re announcing a new update to the Flash Player today code named “Moviestar” and it includes support for the widely used industry standard H.264 codec as well as High Efficiency AAC audio support”

So reads the opening statement on a blog post from Ryan Stewart an RIA evangelist at Adobe.

We at Bioscreencast are thrilled at this announcement. As you may remember in its zeroth avatar was offering all its content as H.264 encoded *.mov formatted files that were playable using the quicktime plugin. We chose H.264 since the video quality was amazing for the size of file and also the codec itself was “open”. We were further encouraged by the choice of H.264 by other online screencast offerings such as the video-books at Safari from the O’Reilly stable.

A few weeks after our launch, we started hearing from a lot of our users about issues they had with the quicktime plugin. These were mostly apparent on older hardware using older versions of the quicktime plugin. Prompted by these problems and the ubiquity of browser flash support we decided to bite the flash bullet. The transcoded videos were very viewable but definitely suffered in quality compared to the original mov versions.

We are therefore obviously excited by this announcement today because it could mean that we can have our cake and eat it too. Flash and the flash player are incredibly powerful in the richness of the APIs backing them and there is no denying that Flash rules the Rich internet Application (RIA) roost.

We will definitely be looking into using the new platform to offer screencasts at the best possible resolution.

Hari Jayaram

Over at bbgm, I have a post about SciVee, a new service from the NSF, PLoS and the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The new service allows scientists to publish video podcasts in support of published work. This is big on many fronts; the organizations involved alone validate everything we’ve believed in here at Bioscreencast, and slowly, video for scientific content and online communication around scientific works, whether published or user generated in our case is going to continue to grow.

The site has serious issues today ( Aug 16th 2007). Our attempts at upgrading our webhost ran into some technical issues. We are sorry for any interruptions and hope we will be up and running soon.

Any uploads that took place in the last 24 hrs are also held up because of these issues.

We apologize for any broken links while we fix this.

We are moving to a faster host. This will allow us to offer our videos in a snappier fashion , experiment with better flash players and hopefully improve your user experience.

While we affect our move our users might experience some “slowness” till the name servers catch up . The move is scheduled for a few hours around 21:00 hr EST in the US (21:00 eastern standard time : 8th of August , 2007).

So bear with us and let us know if anything appears out of the ordinary after the move.

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