I have said it a thousand times in the past: I love Safari Books Online Their vast array of books covering virtually every technical topic known to man is unparalleled and using their system could not be any simpler. Add to that the fact that you can access over 17,000 books not just by computer, but by mobile devices such as the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and so on (for more on this, see my review here: Safari Books Online Mobile Review), and you have a truly unbeatable product that any technical professional should have in their arsenal.
While I have talked extensively about their offerings in the book department (you can find the reviews here: Safari Books Online Review and How to Use Safari Books Online), I have only just scratched the surface when it comes to what, for some, may be its most important feature yet – its video library.
While I am admittedly a huge book lover – it is an obvious necessity in my line of work as a writer/editor – sometimes I find it easier to glean information from a short film rather than wade through a book. There is something about watching someone perform a task step by step or discuss a topic in visual detail that makes the lesson stick to my brain. I compare it to watching biographies on the History Channel. Sure, I could read about World War 2 and let my brain fill in the blanks. Or I could watch the footage on television and see it in the flesh. Watching a brigade of soldiers storm a beach can be more compelling than just reading about it.
Part of that comes from being a visual learner. Show me something once and I’ll never forget it. Have me read about it, and I may have to revisit it once or twice. Everyone learns differently, and that’s why Safari Books Online offers its viewership one more method to increase their skillset – what I dub, the Video Vault.
This vault contains over 6062 hours of online training videos that cover a broad range of topics including web design, software development, and graphic design. All told, their are 1471 videos at the time of this writing focusing on 10 main categories, each broken down into a set of 105 sub-categories. What all of that means is simple: If you watched their video content 24 hours a day, you would have enough material to last you 252 days. Of course if you were to be less adventurous (and more realistic), it equals out to 2 hours of content per day for 8 full years. Now that’s a lot of content!
Just as with their book content, Safari Books Online allows you to search through their video content for a topic that interests you.
From there, you can read more information about the video, view the table of contents (think of it as a DVD scene viewer), or add it to your list of favorites so you can view it at another time. You can also click the Start Viewing button to begin watching the video from the beginning.
In addition to the above functionality, Safari Books Online provides several other cool features that really help you get the most out of your learning experience. For starters, you can add Notes and Tags to each video, in the event that you want to remind yourself about something or jot something important about the video down. You can also bookmark a particular section that is interesting or share the video with a friend via the Share and Bookmark buttons.
Perhaps the most powerful feature of the video section is the ability to search through video content with a keyword or keyphrase to find sections of videos that contain the exact information you want.
The Safari Books Online video library is great, and while it may not match the volume of its book counterpart, it is massive and in many ways is just as good – sometimes even better. Staring at text all day (writing and reading) can sometimes be taxing, and for visual learners, watching a video offers a more experiential learning process.
On top of its amount of content, the feature set for their video section is top notch, turning a learning platform into what it truly should be: a learning tool.
But don’t just take my word for it. Members of the Developer Shed network are able to take advantage of a special offer by Safari Books Online. Try Safari Books Online out for 10 days free, and then save 30% of their unlimited subscription. This is definitely a limited time offer, so move quickly.