Archive for February, 2012

Video Abstracts & Audio

We all must have heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” … and many of us will probably agree -at least to some extent- with the meaning of this popular phrase.  In fact, I recently used it to justify my reasoning in creating a wireframe to explain several ideas I wanted to share in a single page.  But today, for the sake of fun and under the assumption that a picture is the same as an image, I asked myself a nice/tricky question: “is a GIF animated image worth more than a thousand words? … mmmm probably so :-)

Anyway, back to the title of this post, in today’s multimedia world, moving images or video clips can be very effective ways to communicate an idea, especially for concepts that require some sort of animation.  For instance, the image below is a screenshot of a five minutes video and overview of the content of the article Multi-Cellular Rosettes in the Mouse Visceral Endoderm Facilitate the Ordered Migration of Anterior Visceral Endoderm Cells -the cell transformation process is something that can only be represented in a video … so, is 5 min enough?

Although providing video abstracts to academic publications isn’t as popular -yet- … the recent Emerald’s Video Abstracts Showcase is another example of the potential benefit/use of this new addition to the traditional text format of publications.  In the words of Emerald “Short videos presented by the originator of an article can provide an engaging platform for presenting a broad overview of the content and motivation behind a piece of work.”

Creating -even- video abstracts can be time-consuming, but how about converting text to audio files -perhaps using semi-automated tools.  With all the development in text-to-speech technologies, this seems to be a feasible feature in the near future.  A good example of articles with audio files is the work by the OMICS Publishing Group, where most journals provide access to their publications in multiple formats such as: PDF, HTML, XML, MP3, and others.
OMICS Publishing Group

In conclusion, audio files can increase accessibility to academic publications -e.g. people with visual impairments could listen to the content.  Ok, now it’s time for me to go back and watch another video tutorial on jQuery … I guess I’m now just “partial” to videos :-)


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