With the BeeSpace Navigator, University of Illinois researchers have created both a curation tool for genetic biologists and a new approach to searching for information.
When biologists need information about a gene or its function, they turn to curators, who keep and organize vast quantities of information from academic papers and scientific studies. A curator will extract as much information as possible from the papers in his or her collection and provide the biologist with a detailed summary of what’s known about the gene – its location, function, sequence, regulation and more – by placing this information into an online database such as FlyBase.
Schatz and his team developed BeeSpace Navigator, a free online software that draws upon databases of scholarly publications. The semantic indexing to support the automatic curation used the Cloud Computing Testbed, a national computing datacenter hosted at U. of I.
While BeeSpace originally was built around literature about the bee genome, it has since been expanded to the entire Medline database and has been used to study a number of insects as well as mice, pigs and fish.
For more information see New curation tool a boon for genetic biologists