You know how when you are getting into a new area of study, it is easy to find papers & other background materials to read (key term is read) to catch up on the subject? But sometimes reading background information doesn’t quite do the trick for you when you must then discuss the material because, well, ‘sounding out’ words just doesn’t always lead you to the same pronunciation that the ‘experts’ in the area use. (You can see the same thing – sometimes to very amusing ends – when listening to a voracious young reader talk about the subject they are reading. All the comprehension, understanding & ability to comprehend are there, but sometimes it is hard to get past their verbal missteps.)
Well, that no longer needs to happen to people new to the area of genetics, thanks to the Talking Glossary. It is actually very cool – you can hear just the word (link on upper left), or a short talk about the meaning of the word given by an NIH expert in the field (click the upper right oval to view it in the movie window). You can also read a definition of the term (above the movie window), of course, and for some terms there are even illustrations (second ‘tab’ along top of movie window) and 3D animations with a sound track (second ‘tab’ along top of movie window). Then (lower, under the movie window) there are links to the entries for related terms, as well as links to download any available illustrations. To see what I mean, check out the entry for ATGC.
I can see this also being a great tool for international scientists wanting to communicate their science in English, perhaps as a talk or poster. Now, the glossary isn’t comprehensive (how could it be?), but it is very nice. And I’m guessing, like most things, the more people use it the more they will be able to justify funds for expanding it.
And for all you readers who are already English-speaking genetics gurus, or those wishing to practise what they learned, check out the quiz (left side, under the glossary term window) – available either at ‘in the classroom’ or ‘in the news’ levels of difficulty – I thought it was kinda fun AND I got a new certificate to hang on my wall!