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J Biomed Inform. 2008 Oct;41(5):687-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2008.01.008. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

State of the nation in data integration for bioinformatics.

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School of Computer Science, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M139PL, UK.


Data integration is a perennial issue in bioinformatics, with many systems being developed and many technologies offered as a panacea for its resolution. The fact that it is still a problem indicates a persistence of underlying issues. Progress has been made, but we should ask "what lessons have been learnt?", and "what still needs to be done?" Semantic Web and Web 2.0 technologies are the latest to find traction within bioinformatics data integration. Now we can ask whether the Semantic Web, mashups, or their combination, have the potential to help. This paper is based on the opening invited talk by Carole Goble given at the Health Care and Life Sciences Data Integration for the Semantic Web Workshop collocated with WWW2007. The paper expands on that talk. We attempt to place some perspective on past efforts, highlight the reasons for success and failure, and indicate some pointers to the future.

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