W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > October 2008

Gene Wiki, revisited

From: Andrew Su <asu@gnf.org>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2008 17:26:16 -0700
Message-ID: <19051465EC679941AF6EADF0BF46EAA906883FDD@EXCH1.rec.gnf.org>
To: <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

Yes, I'm resurrecting a four month old thread, but I hope you'll forgive
me for joining the party late.  I am spearheading the Gene Wiki project
at Wikipedia and just stumbled upon this discussion in the mail

To quickly summarize relevant parts of the previous thread, Dan
Brickley's original observation about our paper that:

> ... I don't see mention of W3C, RDF, Semantic Web etc ...

is absolutely correct.  We are guilty as charged, and at the time, we
just weren't aware enough of these relevant initiatives.  (We've since
been learning...)  In our defense though, I think Rod Page summed it up
pretty well:

> I suggest that it's a classic case of a choice between a simple 
> system with lots of users and just enough functionality to be usable, 
> or a more elaborate system lots of functionality, but with fewer

Our goal was to focus on how to encourage contribution to the Gene Wiki,
not on how it would/could be mined later.  In this regard, being
unstructured was actually a good thing, since I think asking the average
biologist to structure their own data is a recipe for nonparticipation.
Moreover, I'll also point out that the content we added to the Wikipedia
gene stubs were taken from structured databases, so I don't know if
there would have been a point in structuring that data more formally.

So having said all that, I'm here to get input, advice, and perhaps
participation from this community.  We're in the process of deciding how
to extend the Gene Wiki further.  In addition to improving the content
in the gene stubs, the two main issues that could be addressed are
reliability and semantic structure.  Reliability, we've got covered
elsewhere.  But what can we do to make the Gene Wiki play nicer with the
semantic web community?  

I'll leave it with that open ended question, hoping you all will help
guide us in a fruitful direction.


Andrew Su, Ph.D.
Genomics Institute of the 
  Novartis Research Foundation
Tel: 858-812-1656
Fax: 858-332-4528
Received on Sunday, 26 October 2008 15:27:03 UTC

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