Technology Review has an interesting article on a new offering from MIT — a tool that allows users to search over 200 academic lectures by keyword. The Lecture Browser is available at http://web.sls.csail.mit.edu/lectures/ .
I think this site is supposed to work in Firefox but I had no luck. I would get the “searching” window and no actual results. It worked fine in IE. Choose some keywords and a category for your search. What you’ll get is a lecture name, date, and a list of the times the searched-for keyword appears in the transcript. There’s also a timeline with play controls; click on a play icon and the lecture will show up in the RealPlayer on the right side of the screen.
As the video plays, a transcript follows along underneath. It doesn’t appear that the transcripts are perfect — I was watching a 2002 lecture from Jeff Bezos that had some really weird transcript. But I can’t find the example. Something about Bulgarians paying for their order in cats. I found it:
“i even know they had internet access in eighteen ninety five in bulgaria but they’d and this person did not pay with a credit card they paid with cats”
… so don’t trust the transcription completely. It’s accurate enough that it’s useful to follow along while watching the video, but that’s it. Watch the video.
It’s a little disorienting, jumping all over a video instead of watching it beginning to end. On the other hand it is MUCH faster — and I was able to do a depth of content exploration I wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise. Now if it would just work in Firefox…!