Saturday, June 2, 2007

SigTube: 5 Minute Presentations of Conference Papers

The success of YouTube and the like have proven a very simple point: a 5-minute video is a very effective mode of communication. People love to see stuff in 5-minute nuggets (or less). I'm suggesting we learn from this observation for better dissemination of scientific results.

I'm proposing that along with every paper published in conference proceedings, we also create a 5-minute video presenting the highlights of the paper, and make the presentations available on the web for free. I'm calling this SigTube (mostly to encourage people to come up with a better name).

A 5-minute presentation (done well) can give quite a bit of information and insight about a publication, certainly more than the 100-word abstract or the paper's introduction. I know I would love to sit through a bunch of these from time to time and learn more about what's going on in my field, even in areas that are farther away from my main interest areas (in fact, probably mostly in such areas). A video also captures the enthusiasm and emphases of the speaker (not to speak of the fact that it preserves their youth for eternity!)

With today's infrastructure and technology, this is pretty much trivial to do. A conference can dedicate a person with a video camera who will film the videos during the conference. Alternatively, some authors may prefer to film the videos on their own and send them in.

Any takers?


Anant said...

Great minds think alike (and fools ...) I am running a programming contest internally in IM -- and guess what, I am also asking them to submit a 5 - 10 min video with each submission.
Suffice to say, love your idea...

Panos Ipeirotis said...

A few weeks back, Vijay Vazirani had a similar idea that was posted in the Computational Complexity blog.

The discussion was active and the comments provide plenty of food for thought.

Naveen said...

Yes, nice idea ! Should probably expand it to technical presentations in general, not just conference talks.
I was thinking "geektube" :) but that seems taken.
- Naveen

Alark said...

Hello Alon,

Its a great idea that some people in the field of computer graphics have started using lately.

For the annual SIGGRAPH conference, researchers make elaborate videos to showcase their techniques as a 'supplement' to their paper. The videos are huge and used to take forever to upload. They are now uploading videos on youtube like this one below

A search for "Siggraph 2007" on youtube gives many more such videos. Thanks.