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Biomedicine in museums

Visualizing laboratory life — new web tools for the formation of biocitizenship

By August 23, 2007No Comments

The on-line Journal of Visualized Experiments (mentioned in an earlier post on this blog), was the first web-based service dedicated to visual demonstrations of experimental methods and protocols. It has been followed by others, for example, LabAction. Both were started by young lab people with little financial backing and both (especially LabAction) have a nice YouTube feel about them.

As a commentator in yesterday web-issue of The Scientist points out these sites so far have fairly few visitors (100-500 a day to their combined collection of 115 videos), compared to the many thousands of daily unique visitors to the Nature Protocols website. Nature Protocols don’t have so many videos on-line yet, but what they display is usually of high quality and resolution, as you can see from this mpg-file which shows how one removes nuclear material from a mouse oocyte. (There are many more here.)

Sites like these have been set up by scientists for scientists, like ordinary scientific journals. But they may soon begin to play a role in the formation of ‘biocitizenship’ (for a critical evaluation of the concept, see here). Right now most of these videos are technically too specialised, and they leave a lot of tacit knowledge and contextual information out. But I guess it’s only a question of time before other versions that are more relevant for a somewhat broader audience begin to circulate on the net and mix with millions of other videos — and thereby inject some ‘biotechmindedness’ into the web-savvy population. (Thanks to Mats for drawing my attention to the idea of ‘X-mindedness’.)

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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