caBIG -ONIX meeting

The meeting in London was very useful from the perspective of getting a better idea of what is going on in the world of collaborative endeavors involving IT. The answer is, a great deal. There was a lot of high powered discussion ranging from “facebook” like applications set up for workflow sharing, the semantic web, enterprise architechture, personalized medicine, caBIG tools and lots more. Quite a bit of this was only partly accessible to me given the language problem and copious use of acronyms. Stuart Bell of Onix gave INCTR a nice plug in his talk which, assuming he was awake (he was a bit jet lagged) particularly with respect to our extended network.

I did have a chance to chat to a number of people, including Ken Buetow, George Komatsoulis, Sir Kenneth Calman, former head of the NHS of UK and now chair of the NCRI (UK equivalent of NCI) Sir Alex Markham (who was CEO of CR UK and chairs many important high level committees in the UK including the NCRI ONIX program), Stuart Bell and Rob Merriel who runs Biogrid Australia. The British Library is setting up a super-bibliographic site with multiple hyperlinks, I’ll be in touch with these folks.

I didn’t have too much opportunity to discuss specific issues such as OERC which, my impression was, differed in scope to the areas of interest of these folks, but making or strengthening the connections, especially with Ken Buetow and the NCRI (I had met most of these people before) were probably the most important things and may assist future discussions with Ken. The vast bulk of the attendees were IT specialists of one kind or another and not content people, although I was impressed at the ability of some to discuss genomics etc. One presentation revolved around publishing “triples” rather than papers, and pointed out the tremendous degree of ambiguity in published data. I can vouch for that, having been bogged down in gene nomenclature and aliases in a different context, where people use any of up to half a dozen names of the same gene, or the Drosophila name for the human version etc. All of which is straying somewhat from the topic.

Today we met with Pieter Hintjens of Wikidot, who is interested in working with us to set up a wiki-farm within the context of INCTR i.e.., Wikidot would not appear on any of the farm animals (or perhaps I should say, objects).


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