Webcasts in PubMed?

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

So I was reading the NLM Technical Bulletin for November-December this morning. (Yeah, gripping, I know–and a month late.  You know how the holidays are…).  But I came across something intriguing.  Here’s what it says:

Hmm…webcasts.  Ok.  But how are they going in?  And what are the sources?  How are they annotated?  So let’s have a look.  At PubMed I clicked on advanced searches.  Checked the “Type of Article” box.  And let the search run.

I got 3. Here are my results:

I went to the first one at the publisher’s site.  There’s a brief abstract-like introduction.  There you can link to 2 videos.  There is a patient examination, pre- and post-treatment.  There’s a word doc with the video legend.  Here’s the whole legend…I’m not really sure why this need to be delivered in a word doc and not on that page.

Legend: A 43-year-old man with thiamine deficiency, manifested as gait and eye movement abnormalities without encephalopathy (video 1) that markedly improves following prompt diagnosis and empiric thiamine replacement (video 2).

Ok. This is useful stuff for neurologists, I’m sure. But it’s not what I would have called a “webcast”. Maybe it’s just me…I would have thought that was pretty much essentially a figure in this paper.

The second one I didn’t expect to have access to.  But when I got to the site it appeared that I did.  My German is non-existent, but I was able to decipher the word “podcast”.  So I clicked. I had access to a German podcast.  That’s cool.  But also isn’t what I would have called a “webcast”.

Ok. The next one I don’t have access to.  I can’t assess what it really is.  But I have to say 2/3 are not what I expected as webcasts…

Maybe it’s semantic.  I thought webcasts would be seminars people gave on their work, or special published items like the training materials we have, or something.  Maybe recordings from conference presentations.

I like the idea–I think we need to start thinking about ways to make these types of valuable publications/presentations available.  I was wondering how the content would be indexed by the NLM.  All of our training webcasts have the full script available as text, but I would say that’s rather uncommon.  Most cases have a title and a bare abstract at best in my experience.

What do you think?  Is that what you call webcasts?  My current assessment of this development = Idea: excellent.  Execution (currently): eh.

MacDonald, R., Stanich, P., Monrad, P., & Mateen, F. (2009). Teaching Video NeuroImages: Wernicke encephalopathy without mental status changes Neurology, 73 (20) DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181c1de31

3 thoughts on “Webcasts in PubMed?

  1. Jennifer

    Yea, that’s a good question: to be, or not to be – a webcast.

    I think like so many new media things, it is sort of too new for the term to have a single understood meaning. Wikipedia defines webcast as:

    “A webcast is a media file distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology” (Webcast. (2009, December 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:15, January 8, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Webcast&oldid=334496620)

    which I think apply to the items that you describe. WebcastBerkeley (http://webcast.berkeley.edu/) seems to use ‘webcast’ much more as the way you understand it.

    But what interests me about this post more than what term is used – I get the general idea I’m clicking to some sort of video presentation – is the fact that it is further evidence that PDFs just don’t cut it. Presenting information – either documentation, publications or course materials – via huge PDFs that are hard to download, hard to update, require lots of scrolling or paper to read, etc – is just not the most technologically advanced, or even effective method of presentation any more. I think it is cool each time I see a group, journal, or now even government agency come to this same realization – that videos are an effective & efficient way of teaching people.

    Of course, the value of the video is directly related to the quality of the video – we know that from working so many years at learning what works best & all the things that affect how well our users learn from our tutorials. But everyone needs to start somewhere, & I’m glad to see the NLM putting so much value into this information media that they have created an entire PubMed article type to feature it. I am curious if they are collaborating with the creators of JOVE – the Journal of Visualized Experiments (http://www.jove.com/) – an overlap in missions seems obvious to me…

  2. Mary Post author

    Yeah–the JOVE articles–that’s more of what I expected would be tagged with a webcast type.

    Or some of the Science and Nature “webinar” sorts of things that I’ve watched online.

    I don’t expect the little things like our ‘tip of the week’ movies to go in–but conference preceedings, publishers webinars, that stuff.

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