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Calling International Rescue: knowledge lost in literature and data landslide!

The Biochemical journal | Dec 10, 2009

We live in interesting times. Portents of impending catastrophe pervade the literature, calling us to action in the face of unmanageable volumes of scientific data. But it isn't so much data generation per se, but the systematic burial of the knowledge embodied in those data that poses the problem: there is so much information available that we simply no longer know what we know, and finding what we want is hard - too hard. The knowledge we seek is often fragmentary and disconnected, spread thinly across thousands of databases and millions of articles in thousands of journals. The intellectual energy required to search this array of data-archives, and the time and money this wastes, has led several researchers to challenge the methods by which we traditionally commit newly acquired facts and knowledge to the scientific record. We present some of these initiatives here - a whirlwind tour of recent projects to transform scholarly publishing paradigms, culminating in Utopia and the Semantic Biochemical Journal experiment. With their promises to provide new ways of interacting with the literature, and new and more powerful tools to access and extract the knowledge sequestered within it, we ask what advances they make and what obstacles to progress still exist? We explore these questions, and, as you read on, we invite you to engage in an experiment with us, a real-time test of a new technology to rescue data from the dormant pages of published documents. We ask you, please, to read the instructions carefully. The time has come: you may turn over your papers...

Pubmed ID: 19929850 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Databases, Factual | Humans | Information Dissemination | Information Storage and Retrieval | International Cooperation | Internet | Periodicals as Topic | Software

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This is a list of tools and resources that we have found mentioned in this publication.


Reflect

A free service that tags gene, protein, and small molecule names in any web page. Clicking on a tagged term opens a small popup showing summary information, and allows the user to quickly link to more detailed information. For each protein or gene, Reflect provides domain structure, sub-cellular localization, 3D structure, and interaction partners. For small molecules, it provides the chemical structure and interaction partners. Reflect can be installed as a plugin to Firefox or Internet Explorer, or can be used by entering a URL in the field provided. It can also be accessed programmatically via a REST or SOAP API, and a Reflect button can easily be added to any web page using Javascript or using a CGI proxy. Reflect was first-prize winner out of over 70 submissions in the Elsevier Grand Challenge, an international competition for systems that improve the way scientific information is communicated and used. Reflect can be edited and improved by the community.

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InterPro

Service providing functional analysis of proteins by classifying them into families and predicting domains and important sites. They combine protein signatures from a number of member databases into a single searchable resource, capitalizing on their individual strengths to produce a powerful integrated database and diagnostic tool. This integrated database of predictive protein signatures is used for the classification and automatic annotation of proteins and genomes. InterPro classifies sequences at superfamily, family and subfamily levels, predicting the occurrence of functional domains, repeats and important sites. InterPro adds in-depth annotation, including GO terms, to the protein signatures. You can access the data programmatically, via Web Services. The member databases use a number of approaches: # ProDom: provider of sequence-clusters built from UniProtKB using PSI-BLAST. # PROSITE patterns: provider of simple regular expressions. # PROSITE and HAMAP profiles: provide sequence matrices. # PRINTS provider of fingerprints, which are groups of aligned, un-weighted Position Specific Sequence Matrices (PSSMs). # PANTHER, PIRSF, Pfam, SMART, TIGRFAMs, Gene3D and SUPERFAMILY: are providers of hidden Markov models (HMMs). Your contributions are welcome. You are encouraged to use the ''''Add your annotation'''' button on InterPro entry pages to suggest updated or improved annotation for individual InterPro entries.

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