I learned from Jonathan Shock and Sara Tompson about SciTalks. In Jonathan’s words (from a comment on another post):

There’s now a site where people can link to, review and rate scientific videos online. This is a great step as there are so many wonderful lectures online but currently they’re spread all over the web and it’s always hard to tell the quality and level that a lecture is going to be.

Jonathan has also done posts about online resources in theoretical high energy physics, including a recent one where he discussed SciTalks a bit more.

jennifer goldbeck on the semantic webThis got me thinking a bit about where we are going with all these resources, how useful they are, and -very importantly- how easy it all is to find, and then to search through. (Imagine there are 10 hour long talks broadly on your favourite topic. Assuming there are no accompanying files, how can you search them to find a specific fact that they might mention, without sitting through ten hours worth of material?) Well, ironically, one of the first things that caught my eye on SciTalks was a rather nice talk by Jennifer Golbeck (given at FermiLab last year) entitled “Social Networks, the Semantic Web, and the Future of Online Scientific Collaboration”. She’s quite interesting about this very topic… She describes online collaboration, data sharing, social networks, etc, all in the context of helping us do science (not just physics by the way!). She also illustrates her subject matter -still staying on topic- using examples of data sets from Facebook, Myspace, Friendster, and other sites. Interestingly, she also talks a little about the mathematics of social networks, starting the famous “six degrees of separation” stuff of Milgram’s and plunging deeper from there, focusing on the idea of “trust” in this context – important in sharing information in a scientific (or other) context. See this site for more.

Well, until the fully functional Semantic Web comes to pass (largely a matter of organising data better than we are – no new technology needed), SciTalks currently certainly seems like a good place to use to highlight existing material, so go along and put some links to resources up there!


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7 Responses to SciTalks

  1. Amara says:

    WOW! There’s a ton of information there! As a speaker, it must be hard to get a five-star rating, though. Even four-stars are rare.
    OK, then, all you entertaining Mad Scientist types! Television-land wants you! From a ad that popped into my mailbox this week:

    Employer: Triple Threat Television
    Location: New York City, NY

    Are you a mad scientist destined for TV stardom? Do your colleagues consider you to be the next Bill Nye? Does the smell of Bunsen burners get your blood pumping? If you answered yes to any of these, we want you!
    We are casting for a pilot that would shoot over the course of approximately two weeks late this summer are looking for dynamic science personalities with expertise in chemistry, mechanical engineering, or physics. The show is comparable to programs like “Mythbusters” and “American Chopper,” where science and colorful personalities combine to make entertaining television that appeals to science enthusiasts and a wide audience. You will assist in the design and construction of inventions in and must be able to explain the inner workings to the viewing audience. No prior television experience is necessary, but you should be comfortable in front of a camera. If interested, please provide us with a photo, contact information, resume, a list of career accomplishments, and video footage if available.

    About the Employer:
    New York City based television production company specializing in all forms of non-fiction television.


    Please mention that you saw this job on!

    Sector: Industry (non-Finance)

    Hours: Part time
    Type: Contract / Project

    Duration: Indefinite
    PhD fields sought: Physical Sciences / Math, Engineering / Computer Science
    Expires: July 16, 2007


    Sounds fun, huh? And if any of you get the job.. my finder’s fee is a yummy sushi dinner, OK?

  2. Clifford says:


    You know… I just realized that this would have been very relevant for the “A Moment of Science” post…. silly me…. Let me add it there.


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  4. Sara says:

    Thanks Clifford!
    Say, when are YOU going to get into Facebook?!
    Leavey Library students got me into it last year, as did some students I’d helped at the Ref. Desk, but now gazillions of my generation are in this network, so its morphed to more a social than a work collab. space for me.
    But yet again, some librarians are trying to take substantive discussions to the book, with some success, so it may morph back again.
    One upshot is that I’m neglecting the blog more in favor of Facebook!
    And don’t even get me started on Second Life, which can be lots of fun, and IF every vendor in libraryland was on there could be an awesome avatar-way to do library reference, but that’s probably not going to happen, so it is just mostly a timesink…

  5. Clifford says:

    Forgive me my ignorance, but what are the benefits of being in facebook? (I don’t even know where the portal is) (*ducks* expecting to be deluged with responses about why it is a great thing…..) Guess I’m just an old-fashioned blogging type…

    Testimonials welcome.


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  7. Sara T. says:

    Social networking (ala My Space) for the .edu world; now open to others, too, but still a lot less “busy” with ads, and much nicer format, and thousands of academics in north america and some elsewhere are on it. one “friends” other folks, and at login you get an overview of what your friends are up to. many many usc students (and others of course!) use the built in email function and/or posting on a friend’s profile’s “wall” to communicate and NEVER use usc email or even gmail. any member can set up a seemingly infinite number of “groups” and have people join. now, lots of people, and corps., are inventing add on apps to facebook, so it may get too commercial like my space, we’ll see!