Posted on May 14th, 2013 in Curation, Inside NIF, Jonathan Cachat | No Comments »
Over the past 4 years, the Neuroscience Information Framework systematically scanned the literature, internet and social buzz for all things neuroscience (& biomedical science). This tedious bookkeeping has resulted in the largest, most comprehensive catalog of neuroscience-relevant information ever amassed – with the added bonus of semantically enhanced search functions. And now, we would like to share it with you via myNIF…but before those details…
What do we mean “neuroscience information”?
Neuroscience information includes data, resources, literature, grants, multimedia, social buzz, a lexicon and more..
Data: Over 140 independent databases (i.e. CCDB, Grants.gov, GENSAT) are deeply indexed and semantically mapped by NIF – representing over 400 million pieces of data. These data are considered part of the “hidden web”, not indexed by major search engines because do so requires specialized database query statements for retrieving data within, rather than on the surfaces of pages surrounding the database. NIF has developed technologies to regularly re-crawl and update data content, index it, and provide search within the contents of these databases simultaneously. Moreover, data resulting from a search can be exported with a single click into standard data formats for desired, subsequent analysis. This can simply save you time – if you need to know what type of serotonin receptors have been classified in zebrafish (Danio rerio) – searching NIF for ‘zebrafish serotonin receptor’ provides results from authoritative data providers (HomoloGene, EntrezGene) which can be compared instantly, rather than visiting each site separately, and comparing through notes, multiple windows, or several downloads. In addition to this primary information , the results also include related, and sometimes very helpful information about zebrafish and serotonin – signaling pathways, antibodies, and grant information.
Resources: Need to find a software analysis package for microarray data? NIF can recommend 41 options, as well as 100+ unique organizations, centers, labs and websites that have similar interests. Looking for non-governmental funding of ALS research? Here are 7. What about a tissue bank with Alzheimer’s disease CNS tissue samples available for researchers? NIF is aware of around 88 worth a look. All of this to convey that a resource is object or entity, with a website, that provides potential value to neuroscience research or the researchers. Importantly, this catalog of resources indexed by NIF is maintained at NeuroLex, a semantic mediawiki website. Homologous to Wikipedia, in that any one can contribute their resource or favorite resources, but endowed with reasoning capabilities permitting logical reasoning on relationships between data (i.e. list all GABAergic Neurons).