Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Five Helpful Resources

Over the past couple of years I have found some really great websites and online resources to help me keep up with scientific literature, as well as to help me progress through my own research.  In the hopes that these might help you out as well, I want to go through some of the online resources I have found helpful.  If you have other online resources you find helpful, please let me know in the comments section.  I would love to hear about them.

This online service, brought to you by Dr. Ken Wolfe’s lab, is free (as are most things I am going to list here) and helps tremendously in keeping up with scientific literature. To get started you need to create an account, set up some Pubmed search queries, and set a search schedule.  PubCrawler will email you (based on the repeated schedule you set up) with a list of citations that match you search queries, thereby keeping you updated on the literature in your field of interest.

This online forum is great for those of us who deal with sequencing and/or sequencing analysis.  If you need to ask a question about your research, head to this site, make an account, and ask.  My experience with the site has been excellent, with surprisingly fast response times.  On the other side of the coin, you are also able to help other scientists with their problems by chiming in on their questions.  This is great for keeping your mind sharp and helping out your colleagues.  They recently published a paper that you can check out here.

This Week in Microbiology (TWIM)
This is by far a longtime favorite podcast of mine.  “TWIM” is a microbiology conversation podcast led by Vincent Racaniello, with co-hosts including Ronald Atlas, Jo Handelsman, Margaret McFall-Ngai, Stanley Maloy, Elio Schaechter, and Michael Schmidt.  This podcast focuses on the scientists discussing some recent research or relevant topics.  Listening to the show (usually an hour to hour and a half long) is great for keeping up with recent research and for learning a lot of new info about unfamiliar fields.  The strongest point of this show is that it is accessible to a wide audience with a variety of levels of scientific knowledge, while remaining interesting the whole time.  If you are not a scientist but have an interest in learning more about microbiology, you should also check it out.  Vincent also records This Week in Virology (TWIV) and This Week in Parasitism (TWIP).

The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE)
This is a really cool journal because their articles are done as traditional articles with videos, which together demonstrate experimental approaches and techniques.  This is a great resource if you find yourself needing to learn a new technique, because they show you how to do it, include a protocol, and include some representative results.  This is not open access so you need a subscription through your library if you want to check it out.

This is a tool for managing your articles and citations, as well as helping you discover more related literature.  To be honest, I tried both this and EndNote (which costs money, but is available to me on the lab computer) and found EndNote to be more useful (it has more options and is easier to work with because more is built in).  On the other hand, Mendeley is free and has ‘social network’ and ‘literature suggestion’ aspects, which many will find helpful.  Either way, it is worth checking out.

Works Cited

Jing-Woei Li, Robert Schmieder, R. Matthew Ward, Joann Delenick, Eric C. Olivares, David Mittelman. "SEQanswers: an open access community for collaboratively decoding genomes". Bioinformatics. 2012 May 1; 28(9): 1272–1273. Published online 2012 March 13. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bts128. PMCID: PMC3338018


  1. Can't wait to check out JOVE! :)

  2. It's a great site! I hope you find it informative. :)

  3. Quite awesome. I can't believe I didn't know about PubCrawler yet. I love you, Geof!