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Re: Nature: A call for a public gene Wiki

From: Tom Stambaugh <tms@stambaugh-inc.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006 18:26:20 -0500
Message-ID: <006a01c62d07$112f4790$0200a8c0@TMSMAIN>
To: "hclsig-pub" <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

> [Snipped]
> It's at least conceivable that Wikipedia may play an important role  in 
> providing widely accepted identifiers for such high level  classes  and 
> instances, since the high level of usage of wikipedia would tend  to keep 
> those high level concepts  far better maintained and curated  than they 
> would be in the backwaters of a specifically biomedical  ontology.

Agreed. Building on that, I would anticipate multiple "Gene Function Wiki" 
instances to emerge, with locally-used vocabularies and ontologies. I hope 
they would aggregate into an "interwiki". As those multiple small 
communities and ontologies emerge and mature, I anticipate the emergence of 
"meta"-ontologies that describe synonyms, commonalities, differences and so 
forth. I think Jim Hendler addressed this in a talk he gave at Harvard a few 
months ago -- perhaps he might want to publish (here) the slides he used.

I think one clarification might be in order. "Wiki nature" is deeply about 
making writing as accessible as reading, in a web-based medium. Wikis come 
in all sorts of flavors, wikipedia being an excellent example of a 
(primarily) text wiki. Without intending to be provocative here, I think 
that whatever we do that makes the semantic web broadly accessible will also 
make it viable in wikis. Semantic web markup must, in my view, be accessible 
to a "typical" scientist who understands gene function. Many scientists, 
after all, are able to at least occasionally construct perl that works. 
Surely we can achieve that same threshold. I suggest that once we have 
accomplished that, the mechanics of incorporating that markup into a wiki 
will be straightforward.

Received on Wednesday, 8 February 2006 23:26:26 UTC

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