29 May 2008

Video abstracts?

From John Baez at the n-Category Cafe: the Journal of Number Theory is now inviting authors to post their abstracts on YouTube.

Something about putting them on YouTube -- as opposed to on the journal's website -- strikes me as saying that they're not "really" part of the paper.

More interestingly, though, the few "video abstracts" there are just people reading their abstracts. I think it's a good idea, but mathematical speech is just not mathematical writing read out loud. (This is, of course, the converse of the fact that mathematical writing is not just mathematical speech transcribed.) Perhaps there's potential here, though. The first few minutes of a good talk would work as a good "video abstract", I think.

But you've got to start somewhere.


Anonymous said...

Ben Webster from the SBSeminar has already started vlogging! Should we expect something similar from you soon?

Michael Lugo said...


probably not. For one thing, I don't have a camera, and money's tight these days. But more importantly, I don't feel like it fits my style. That might change, though; if I had the technical setup I'd probably at least give it a shot.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the video abstract idea goes somewhere. People turn up to give talks with slides and they talk about things not in the slides. Maybe an integrated video post with the abstract below it, as though it were the first slide of a talk, would be the best format.

Anonymous said...

You don't necessarily need a video camera. If you get some screen capture video software, you can make a video of the slides while you talk over them. This could make a good supplement to a hard paper.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Jesse's idea is really good! That's how they make all those wonderful chess-lecture videos found on YouTube and elsewhere.