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Bioinformatics. 2001 Feb;17(2):180-8.

A classification of tasks in bioinformatics.

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  • 1Department of Computer Science School of Biological Sciences, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK.



This paper reports on a survey of bioinformatics tasks currently undertaken by working biologists. The aim was to find the range of tasks that need to be supported and the components needed to do this in a general query system. This enabled a set of evaluation criteria to be used to assess both the biology and mechanical nature of general query systems.


A classification of the biological content of the tasks gathered offers a checklist for those tasks (and their specialisations) that should be offered in a general bioinformatics query system. This semantic analysis was contrasted with a syntactic analysis that revealed the small number of components required to describe all bioinformatics questions. Both the range of biological tasks and syntactic task components can be seen to provide a set of bioinformatics requirements for general query systems. These requirements were used to evaluate two bioinformatics query systems.

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