Thanks to reader KM for pointing me toward VideoLectures.net ( http://videolectures.net/ ), a collection of over two thousand videos related to science. It’s currently in beta and looks like it covers a variety of topics, from Web technologies to translation tools to math to logic.
The front page points to several different lectures and lists the most prolific authors. There’s a search box, but I skipped that in favor of browsing the most popular videos, which included folks like Tim Berners Lee and some dude named Noam Chomsky. Click on a video and you’ll get a page for the video and a brief description as well as a list of related videos (“The people who watched this video also watched…”) You’ll have the opportunity to leave comments as well. Click on the thumbnail to start the video. Some lectures are set up as a series of videos.
These are not the two minute videos that you might be used to from YouTube. These are lectures; all the videos I looked at were well at least an hour. Their quality varied a lot; Bettina Berendt’s discussion on Web usage mining was interesting but sometimes she was hard to hear. On the other hand, Kamal Nigam’s lecture on Text Information Extraction was extremely easy to hear and follow.
There are a couple of problems with viewing lectures this way. I could never see the slides/presentation materials to my satisfaction. As I mentioned sometimes the lecturer’s voice is hard to hear. And of course you can’t ask questions! I did like the caliber of what’s already been gathered at this site, though. Now if only all the lectures included PPT files and transcriptions…