Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The WikiVet Educational Foundation

Example of donation button linked to PayPal and CAF account

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Online Veterinary Anatomy Museum

Since the official launch of the museum, work to improve and update the site with the vast number of resources which have been contributed by partners continues. A third improved version of the site is now available, with many more items in various different media formats and improved descriptions, aiding searchability. 

As well as updates to the site we continue to encourage new collaborations to keep content on the site up to date and exciting. Since the launch, an additional partner - the Institute of Bioscience in Uruguay - has joined the project, which is an encouraging development for the future of the museum. If you would like to join the collaboration and contribute some material please get in touch with the OVAM team at

The museum is now live and can be found at 

Museum Homepage -

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

QR Codes, iPads and Anatomy Pots!

The RVC has for some time been experimenting with ways to bring its traditional anatomy museum to life. The facility in Camden houses a fantastic collection of skeletons, pots, plastinated specimens and computer based animations. However, the number of students actually visiting the museum and using these resources is actually quite low.

Recently the e-Media Unit has been working with academic staff to try and find new ways of bringing these anatomical treasures to life. One of the first initiatives was the creation of potcasts which are short video descriptions of annotated specimens. These can be viewed on an iPod or mobile phone whilst examining the specimen pots. Feedback from students has been really positive about these resources with many commenting that the experience of listening to a spoken description was almost more effective than having a face to face description.

Whilst the potcasts have proved popular, we wanted to explore ways that these resources could be used anywhere rather than tied to the anatomy museum. This led to a number of innovations including publishing all the potcasts on the WikiVet Media streaming server ( This site looks similar to YouTube but provides a secure and dedicated veterinary video resource. Videos uploaded onto this site can then either be viewed directly or embedded within relevant pages on WikiVet or other sites.

As part of the recently launched Online Veterinary Anatomy Museum ( website, we were able to explore new ways of turning a museum into a virtual space. One idea that we adopted was to create a series of QR codes which can be read by a mobile phone or iPad and linked to web pages on WikiVet. Key pots now have QR codes but we have also created QR categories (see the links below) which lead to collections of videos and descriptive text. With the rapid growth in student ownership of iPads and other mobile devices, we think these codes could be a great way help students locate useful virtual anatomy collections whether in the museum or in the comfort of their own homes!

Try scanning any of the links below using a QR Code reader (free to download) on your phone or iPad.

Thanks to Joanna Fisher and Lucy Warrell, Anatomy Demonstrators at the RVC for creating the QR Code collections.

Friday, 30 November 2012

OVAM Launch

Last week the Online Veterinary Anatomy Museum (OVAM) launch took place in the Lightwell area of the Royal Veterinary College's (RVC) Camden campus in London. Almost a hundred people attended the event ranging from academics to members of the press and students some having travelled over especially from other countries. The evening provided a fascinating insight into the teaching of veterinary anatomy and how it has evolved with presentations by project director Nick Short, senior anatomist Dr. Raymond Macharia and vice-principal of teaching and learning Professor Stephen May of the RVC alongside the special guest - vet and TV presenter Mark Evans. As well as a chance to view some of the key resources which are part of the museum and the innovative Sectra visualisation table

The OVAM website is now live and for those who have not yet had a chance to view the site you can take a look at The site is still a work in progress - we hope that it will constantly evolve as new material is produced and contributed to the museum. So please continue to revisit the site, encourage your colleagues and peers to access it and don't hesitate to get in touch with the OVAM team if you would like to contribute something more to the site.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Project Sustainability

The OVAM project set out a year ago with the ambitious objective to collate and repurpose as many already existing veterinary anatomical resources as possible. It aimed to do this by involving a large number of partner institutions who would be responsible for contributing resources and assigning an eCurator to work on improving some of these.  They would not only collect the resources but also assemble them into useful presentations with a high educational value. This ambition alone makes the project highly unique within its field as there are no other veterinary anatomy collections of comparable size with such an extensive range of partners, at an international level. It is difficult to put a finite value against a resource such as this, however its potential to enrich the studies and knowledge of all veterinary anatomists across the world is irrefutable.

By collecting together the wealth of already existing resources available amongst partners and storing them in one place,  a reliable, easily accessible and innovative new tool has been created. No doubt its impact will be seen at many levels. This is an activity which is especially important in light of the current economic climate, where students face a constant struggle against the increased costs of study, and where raised tuition fees and a higher cost of living often impacts negatively on their means to purchase additional study materials, such as text books. A resource open to everyone provides equal opportunities for all, including those further afield, internationally and to laypeople interested in learning anatomy. As well as providing a useful tool for students it is also expected that the collection will be utilised by academics in their teaching. Resources in an area may be lacking at their own institutions or they may wish to provide links to additional study material. The international collection will help to reduce duplication of effort, with many academics previously often producing similar materials. 

The creation of such a collection should help to reduce confusion amongst students about where they should be looking for resources, an issue which has increasingly become a problem with large amounts of unreliable and unmonitored material appearing on the internet in recent years. By addressing these issues it is hoped that the Online Veterinary Anatomy Museum will revolutionise anatomy teaching and the way students learn, providing them with the opportunity to access highly innovative materials which allow the chance to revise a subject as many times as the student wishes, without the limitations of physical dissections, whilst also being interactive, aiding to enrich their learning experience.

It is anticipated that this is only the start of a new approach to the sharing of anatomy teaching resources and that as the site is publicised additional partners will be keen to commit and contribute content, helping to further enhance the museum in return for full access to the back-room or 'stack' where the entire selection of resources are stored. Involvement in the project will hopefully work as an incentive for partners to actively maintain and continue adding to the museum collectively, minimising the need for additional outside input after the close of the project, whilst also working to actively encourage their students to utilise the resource to the full.

In addition to long-term support from academic partners it is hoped that the support of commercial partners such as Elsevier and Manson Publishing in the museum project and others such as Pfizer and Mars in the wider WikiVet project, which is closely associated, will help to provide further financial assistance. This may be in the form of funding new content, contributing a percentage of existing texts or helping to source staff salaries in order to assist partners and sustain the site. As well as these mechanisms for support the broader WikiVet project is working towards a commercialisation model in order to become self-sustaining. Using a "freemium" model this will aim to generate some income on additional supplementary material to the already existing free open educational resources. This may be through the sale of short low-cost e-lectures or an online bookshop recommending the most useful anatomy texts and taking a percentage of the book sales.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

3D Visualisations

As another part of the OVAM project Per Karlsson a recent graduate from the Royal Veterinary College is working to develop an interface which will allow the use of datasets to provide 3D visualisations of anatomical structures. The first area which is being developed as a prototype is the equine distal limb. A high level of functionality will be included in the end product. Each structure will have an information tab which will appear when clicked on with descriptive text, alternative names for the structure, embedded images and related videos as well as links to other resources such as WikiVet pages or other OVAM resources. Structures and body systems can be added and turned on/off and then reset with the possibility to add audio at a later stage in development. The aim is to have created an interface where different datasets can easily be imported to create 3D visualisations. If you are interested in collaborating and have any datasets which you would like to share then please get in touch with us.  

Shown above is a draft view of how the interface may look. The prototype can be viewed at

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Asset Bank and New Content

The content management system - Asset Bank which we will be using for OVAM is now fully up and running. After lots of work to tweak it for the project to make it the most effective it can be our e-Curators have been busy starting to upload content from their schools. The Asset Bank allows extensive categorisation and meta-tagging of material making it easily searchable. As well as features such as the categorisation and tagging facilities it is also capable of hosting a very wide variety of file formats, allowing us to store the majority of content in one place, minimising any confusion that multiple storage sites would have for users.

Over the next few weeks we will start to be able to offer some examples of the fantastic content which will be included in the museum.

This high quality image of the equine humerus from the right forelimb in situ (lateral view) is from Peter Tomlinsons' project, the curator at the University of Liverpool.