WormBase Website and Biocuration

The Seventh International Biocuration Conference (ISB2014) begins tonight here in Toronto.

 Correction: Poster #44!

Poster: WormBase Website: Supporting the Biocuration Process


 WormBase Website: Supporting the Biocuration Process

Abigail Cabunoc, Todd W. Harris, Lincoln D. Stein

WormBase (http://www.wormbase.org/) is a highly curated central data repository for Caenorhabditis biology. Our objective is to capture the wealth of experimental data available from C. elegans and related nematodes via published literature and personal communication, and present it to the research community in a way that facilitates new biological insights. Although the website is geared towards end users, we added several features to support the biocuration process.

Flexible views were a central design factor in the new website allowing users to customize the information presented to them. We extended this customizability to WormBase curators, with a “Curator only” view. This view allows our curators to view specific metadata related to the curation process and use tools for exploring the arcana of the underlying data model that are not available to the general public.

The ability for curators to add real-time annotations to the website was added as a response to the current lag between data curation, integration, database build and website display. Curators use this to create up-to-date summaries and descriptions for each species or data class, typically information not specifically tied to any release of the website. Such a system could also be used by end users to annotate current data in real-time.

The website was also redesigned to help encourage community annotations and engage the community in the curation process. Every page on the site has a tab prompting users to submit any content corrections or feedback they may have. Users also have the ability to create public comments directly on a report page in WormBase.

Aiding biocuration was one of the main goals of the website redesign. This has provided a space for real time updates, customized views of the data for curators and increased community engagement. While these features are currently available on the website, more work can be done to use them effectively and help bridge the gap between curators and the community.

 
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