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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

“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

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.

Well we always seems to have reasons for our silence..but this ones hard to beat. Deepak has been away at Scifoo , the foo camp organized by Tim Oreilly and Timo Hannay from the Nature publishing group.

You can catch the excitement at this years scifoo conference at deepaks twitter feed , his blog or his kyte TV channel . Also the scifoo community does a very good job of collecting posts related to the conference on the connotea a citation manager at the tag “scifoo“.

Deepak also managed to get his nose into a wonderful session by Moshe and the Jove gang on video in the sciences and even talked to Tim O’Reilly himself about screencasting. Sounds like a tonne of fun.Cant wait to hear more about what went on.

Hari for

refs: For a screencast on using connotea to discover content check out this screencast

Request Screencast

One of the features at that we like , is our “Request Screencast” feature. Using the request screencast page you can put in your request for something you want to learn about and the hope is that our user community will respond. When you make a request, you can categorize and tag it. You can also vote on requests other users have made and that pushes the request up the ladder.

If you have a screencast that you created that fits a particular description we encourage you to use the upload button on this page to upload the movie to our library. Once a request is fulfilled , the person who first created the request will be notified by email.
You can watch a screencast describing this page functionality here. We hope you like this give it a whirl click the icon above, go to the request screencast page link from any page

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