This is a bit of a geeky post, if you are a research scientist here are some links that could make your life easier. Most of them are free (or have a free “basic” version). I haven’t used any of them (yet), but they all look worth a try.
Mendeley – an iTunes for research papers, it helps you sort and search through all the pdfs of research papers that you have lurking on your hard drive. You can also use it to make bibliographies in Word.
LabLife – a bit like Facebook for labs, lets you keep an eye on stocks of chemicals, keep a shopping list of commonly used products, a database of lab protocols and information on different plasmid stocks you’ve created.
plasmaDNA - a free version of “VectorNTI” lets you create your own personal plasmid maps.
JoVE – Journal of Visualised Experiments. Hate reading the materials and methods section and trying to work out what they actually did? This journal could be for you! Sadly you need to subscribe, but instead of reading the methods section you have short, high quality videos showing exactly what the researchers did. Lets face it, when you start in a new lab, the fastest way to learn the techniques is to watch someone do them, so this idea makes sense. The articles are also indexed in PubMed too, so you can refer to them in your bibliography.
The Molecular Biologist’s Toolbar – You can download this and add it to your browser, it gives you quick links to PubMed, SwissProt, wikipedia and a host of sequence analysis tools (blast, ClustalW, etc).
Have you tried any of these things? What do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment below.