Firefox is the most popular browser on the web. This in large part due to the vast array of free add-ons that allow you to customize the browser and add features that will help your everyday work. And molecular and cell biologists are not left out. In this article I have compiled a list of Firefox add-ons for bioscientists. Some specifically help with things like bioinformatics and information searches, while others provide more general support with PDF downloading and unit conversion and the like. Here they are:
1. The Molecular Biologist’s toolbar. With this toolbar you can search Pubmed, Patents, Google Scholar and more from the same search box and get quick links to useful tools, databases and gadgets. Best of all it’s made right here at Bitesize Bio so if there is a feature you’d like added, you can just tell us and we will oblige.
2.Biobar – A power-search tool that allows you to search over 40 biological databases (get a list of the databases here). You can also add your own custom database searches.
3.Biotech Extension. Pushing (ctrl-shift-b) with this extension installed pulls up a sidebar packed with useful links to genomic databases, scientific journals, bioinformatics tools and lots more stuff.
4.BioFOX. This add-on enables you to call up a host of bioinformatics tools in a Firefox sidebar by pressing (ctrl-shift-F). Paste your gene sequence into a text box and you can perform analyses like BLAST searches, codon usage analysis, reverse complement and much more. More information is available on the bioFOX site.
5. Zotero. A very user-friendly tool for collecting and archiving PDF files, web-page snapshots, notes etc. Features one-click archiving of entries for Pubmed and many other sites.
6. BioMed Central Toolbar – Search BioMed Central, PubMed, “Faculty of 1000” and Google from your Firefox browser (also available for IE).
7. Nuke Anything Enhanced makes printing out web pages that bit easier. Nuke Anything allows you to remove un-needed parts of a webpage (e.d. advertisments) before printing. Saves ink, paper and the planet.
8. Research word. With this neat add-on, highlighting and right-clicking on any word in your browser allows you to instantly look it up in Wikipedia, dictionaries, media sites or any sites you specify.
9. Athens Toolbar – Manage your Athens account (a journal access service for UK universities). Not useful if you don’t have Athens access.
10. Internote allows you to leave sticky notes on any internet page, which will be there when you return. Pretty useful.
When I first started out in the lab, I used to follow all protocols to the letter. Now, this is fine as long as your reactions run smoothly. However, there came the day when I had a new protocol and I just couldn’t get it to work. My supervisor told me to just “play around” […]
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