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See detailHow Not to Be a Bioinformatician
Corpas, Manuel; Fatumo, Segun; Schneider, Reinhard UL

in Source Code for Biology and Medicine (2012)

Although published material exists about the skills required for a successful bioinformatics career, strangely enough no work to date has addressed the matter of how to excel at not being a ... [more ▼]

Although published material exists about the skills required for a successful bioinformatics career, strangely enough no work to date has addressed the matter of how to excel at not being a bioinformatician. A set of basic guidelines and a code of conduct is hereby presented to re-address that imbalance for fellow-practitioners whose aim is to not to succeed in their chosen bioinformatics field. By scrupulously following these guidelines one can be sure to regress at a highly satisfactory rate. [less ▲]

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See detailArena3D: visualizing time-driven phenotypic differences in biological systems
Secrier, Maria; Pavlopoulos, Georgios A.; Aerts, J. et al

in BMC Bioinformatics (2012), (13), 45

Elucidating the genotype-phenotype connection is one of the big challenges of modern molecular biology. To fully understand this connection, it is necessary to consider the underlying networks and the ... [more ▼]

Elucidating the genotype-phenotype connection is one of the big challenges of modern molecular biology. To fully understand this connection, it is necessary to consider the underlying networks and the time factor. In this context of data deluge and heterogeneous information, visualization plays an essential role in interpreting complex and dynamic topologies. Thus, software that is able to bring the network, phenotypic and temporal information together is needed. Arena3D has been previously introduced as a tool that facilitates link discovery between processes. It uses a layered display to separate different levels of information while emphasizing the connections between them. We present novel developments of the tool for the visualization and analysis of dynamic genotype-phenotype landscapes. [less ▲]

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See detailEnrichNet: network-based gene set enrichment analysis
Glaab, Enrico UL; Baudot, A.; Krasnogor, N. et al

in Bioinformatics (2012), 28(18), 451-457

Assessing functional associations between an experimentally derived gene or protein set of interest and a database of known gene/protein sets is a common task in the analysis of large-scale functional ... [more ▼]

Assessing functional associations between an experimentally derived gene or protein set of interest and a database of known gene/protein sets is a common task in the analysis of large-scale functional genomics data. For this purpose, a frequently used approach is to apply an over-representation-based enrichment analysis. However, this approach has four drawbacks: (i) it can only score functional associations of overlapping gene/proteins sets; (ii) it disregards genes with missing annotations; (iii) it does not take into account the network structure of physical interactions between the gene/protein sets of interest and (iv) tissue-specific gene/protein set associations cannot be recognized. RESULTS: To address these limitations, we introduce an integrative analysis approach and web-application called EnrichNet. It combines a novel graph-based statistic with an interactive sub-network visualization to accomplish two complementary goals: improving the prioritization of putative functional gene/protein set associations by exploiting information from molecular interaction networks and tissue-specific gene expression data and enabling a direct biological interpretation of the results. By using the approach to analyse sets of genes with known involvement in human diseases, new pathway associations are identified, reflecting a dense sub-network of interactions between their corresponding proteins. [less ▲]

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See detailReLiance: a machine learning and literature-based prioritization of receptor—ligand pairings.
Iacucci, Ernesto; Tranchevent, L. C.; Popovic, D. et al

in Bioinformatics (2012), 28(18), 569-574

Motivation: The prediction of receptor—ligand pairings is an important area of research as intercellular communications are mediated by the successful interaction of these key proteins. As the exhaustive ... [more ▼]

Motivation: The prediction of receptor—ligand pairings is an important area of research as intercellular communications are mediated by the successful interaction of these key proteins. As the exhaustive assaying of receptor—ligand pairs is impractical, a computational approach to predict pairings is necessary. We propose a workflow to carry out this interaction prediction task, using a text mining approach in conjunction with a state of the art prediction method, as well as a widely accessible and comprehensive dataset. Among several modern classifiers, random forests have been found to be the best at this prediction task. The training of this classifier was carried out using an experimentally validated dataset of Database of Ligand-Receptor Partners (DLRP) receptor—ligand pairs. New examples, co-cited with the training receptors and ligands, are then classified using the trained classifier. After applying our method, we find that we are able to successfully predict receptor—ligand pairs within the GPCR family with a balanced accuracy of 0.96. Upon further inspection, we find several supported interactions that were not present in the Database of Interacting Proteins (DIPdatabase). We have measured the balanced accuracy of our method resulting in high quality predictions stored in the available database ReLiance. Availability: http://homes.esat.kuleuven.be/?bioiuser/ReLianceDB/ index.php Contact: yves.moreau@esat.kuleuven.be; ernesto.iacucci@gmail. com Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online [less ▲]

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See detailHuman gene correlation analysis (HGCA): A tool for the identification of transcriptionally co-expressed genes
Michalopoulos, Ioannis; Pavlopoulos, Georgios; Malatras, Apostolos et al

in BMC Research Notes (2012), 5(265), 1-11

Background: Bioinformatics and high-throughput technologies such as microarray studies allow the measure of the expression levels of large numbers of genes simultaneously, thus helping us to understand ... [more ▼]

Background: Bioinformatics and high-throughput technologies such as microarray studies allow the measure of the expression levels of large numbers of genes simultaneously, thus helping us to understand the molecular mechanisms of various biological processes in a cell. Findings: We calculate the Pearson Correlation Coefficient (r-value) between probe set signal values from Affymetrix Human Genome Microarray samples and cluster the human genes according to the r-value correlation matrix using the Neighbour Joining (NJ) clustering method. A hyper-geometric distribution is applied on the text annotations of the probe sets to quantify the term overrepresentations. The aim of the tool is the identification of closely correlated genes for a given gene of interest and/or the prediction of its biological function, which is based on the annotations of the respective gene cluster. Conclusion: Human Gene Correlation Analysis (HGCA) is a tool to classify human genes according to their coexpression levels and to identify overrepresented annotation terms in correlated gene groups. It is available at: http://biobank-informatics.bioacademy.gr/coexpression/. [less ▲]

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See detailBioinformatics as a driver, not a passenger, of translational biomedical research: Perspectives from the 6th Benelux bioinformatics conference.
Azuaje, F. J.; Heymann, M.; Ternes, A. M. et al

in Journal of Clinical Bioinformatics (2012), 2(7),

The 6th Benelux Bioinformatics Conference (BBC11) held in Luxembourg on 12 and 13 December 2011 attracted around 200 participants, including internationally-renowned guest speakers and more than 100 peer ... [more ▼]

The 6th Benelux Bioinformatics Conference (BBC11) held in Luxembourg on 12 and 13 December 2011 attracted around 200 participants, including internationally-renowned guest speakers and more than 100 peer-reviewed submissions from 3 continents. Researchers from the public and private sectors convened at BBC11 to discuss advances and challenges in a wide spectrum of application areas. A key theme of the conference was the contribution of bioinformatics to enable and accelerate translational and clinical research. The BBC11 stressed the need for stronger collaborating efforts across disciplines and institutions. The demonstration of the clinical relevance of systems approaches and of next-generation sequencing-based measurement technologies are among the existing opportunities for increasing impact in translational research. Translational bioinformatics will benefit from research models that strike a balance between the importance of protecting intellectual property and the need to openly access scientific and technological advances. The full conference proceedings are freely available at http://www.bbc11.lu. [less ▲]

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See detailPaving the future: finding suitable ISMB venues
Rost, B.; Gaasterland, T.; Lengauer, T. et al

in Bioinformatics (2012), 28(19), 2556-9

ISCB, the International Society for Computational Biology, organizes the largest event in the field of computational biology and bioinformatics, namely the annual ISMB, the international conference on ... [more ▼]

ISCB, the International Society for Computational Biology, organizes the largest event in the field of computational biology and bioinformatics, namely the annual ISMB, the international conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology. This year at ISMB 2012 in Long Beach, ISCB celebrated the 20th anniversary of its flagship meeting. ISCB is a young, lean and efficient society that aspires to make a significant impact with only limited resources. Many constraints make the choice of venues for ISMB a tough challenge. Here, we describe those challenges and invite the contribution of ideas for solutions. [less ▲]

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See detailCaipirini: using gene sets to rank literature
Soldatos, Theodoros G.; O’Donoghue, S. I.; Satagopam, V. P. et al

in BioData Mining (2012), 5(1),

Background: Keeping up-to-date with bioscience literature is becoming increasingly challenging. Several recent methods help meet this challenge by allowing literature search to be launched based on lists ... [more ▼]

Background: Keeping up-to-date with bioscience literature is becoming increasingly challenging. Several recent methods help meet this challenge by allowing literature search to be launched based on lists of abstracts that the user judges to be ‘interesting’. Some methods go further by allowing the user to provide a second input set of ‘uninteresting’ abstracts; these two input sets are then used to search and rank literature by relevance. In this work we present the service ‘Caipirini’ (http:// caipirini.org) that also allows two input sets, but takes the novel approach of allowing ranking of literature based on one or more sets of genes. Results: To evaluate the usefulness of Caipirini, we used two test cases, one related to the human cell cycle, and a second related to disease defense mechanisms in Arabidopsis thaliana. In both cases, the new method achieved high precision in finding literature related to the biological mechanisms underlying the input data sets. Conclusions: To our knowledge Caipirini is the first service enabling literature search directly based on biological relevance to gene sets; thus, Caipirini gives the research community a new way to unlock hidden knowledge from gene sets derived via high-throughput experiments. [less ▲]

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See detailMedusa: A tool for exploring and clustering biological networks.
Pavlopoulos, Georgios A.; Hooper, S. D.; Sifrim, A. et al

in BMC Research Notes (2011), 4(1), 384

Background: Biological processes such as metabolic pathways, gene regulation or protein-protein interactions are often represented as graphs in systems biology. The understanding of such networks, their ... [more ▼]

Background: Biological processes such as metabolic pathways, gene regulation or protein-protein interactions are often represented as graphs in systems biology. The understanding of such networks, their analysis, and their visualization are today important challenges in life sciences. While a great variety of visualization tools that try to address most of these challenges already exists, only few of them succeed to bridge the gap between visualization and network analysis. Findings: Medusa is a powerful tool for visualization and clustering analysis of large-scale biological networks. It is highly interactive and it supports weighted and unweighted multi-edged directed and undirected graphs. It combines a variety of layouts and clustering methods for comprehensive views and advanced data analysis. Its main purpose is to integrate visualization and analysis of heterogeneous data from different sources into a single network. Conclusions: Medusa provides a concise visual tool, which is helpful for network analysis and interpretation. Medusa is offered both as a standalone application and as an applet written in Java. It can be found at: https:// sites.google.com/site/medusa3visualization. [less ▲]

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See detailWhich clustering algorithm is better for predicting protein complexes?
Moschopoulos, Charalampos N.; Pavlopoulos, Georgios A.; Iacucci, Ernesto et al

in BMC Research Notes (2011), (4), 549

Background Protein-Protein interactions (PPI) play a key role in determining the outcome of most cellular processes. The correct identification and characterization of protein interactions and the ... [more ▼]

Background Protein-Protein interactions (PPI) play a key role in determining the outcome of most cellular processes. The correct identification and characterization of protein interactions and the networks, which they comprise, is critical for understanding the molecular mechanisms within the cell. Large-scale techniques such as pull down assays and tandem affinity purification are used in order to detect protein interactions in an organism. Today, relatively new high-throughput methods like yeast two hybrid, mass spectrometry, microarrays, and phage display are also used to reveal protein interaction networks. Results In this paper we evaluated four different clustering algorithms using six different interaction datasets. We parameterized the MCL, Spectral, RNSC and Affinity Propagation algorithms and applied them to six PPI datasets produced experimentally by Yeast 2 Hybrid (Y2H) and Tandem Affinity Purification (TAP) methods. The predicted clusters, so called protein complexes, were then compared and benchmarked with already known complexes stored in published databases. Conclusions While results may differ upon parameterization, the MCL and RNSC algorithms seem to be more promising and more accurate at predicting PPI complexes. Moreover, they predict more complexes than other reviewed algorithms in absolute numbers. On the other hand the spectral clustering algorithm achieves the highest valid prediction rate in our experiments. However, it is nearly always outperformed by both RNSC and MCL in terms of the geometrical accuracy while it generates the fewest valid clusters than any other reviewed algorithm. This article demonstrates various metrics to evaluate the accuracy of such predictions as they are presented in the text below. Supplementary material can be found at: http://www.bioacademy.gr/bioinformatics/projects/ppireview.htm [less ▲]

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See detailUsing graph theory to analyze biological networks
Pavlopoulos, Georgios A.; Secrier, Maria; Moschopoulos, Charalampos N. et al

in BioData Mining (2011), 4(10), 1-27

Understanding complex systems often requires a bottom-up analysis towards a systems biology approach. The need to investigate a system, not only as individual components but as a whole, emerges. This can ... [more ▼]

Understanding complex systems often requires a bottom-up analysis towards a systems biology approach. The need to investigate a system, not only as individual components but as a whole, emerges. This can be done by examining the elementary constituents individually and then how these are connected. The myriad components of a system and their interactions are best characterized as networks and they are mainly represented as graphs where thousands of nodes are connected with thousands of vertices. In this article we demonstrate approaches, models and methods from the graph theory universe and we discuss ways in which they can be used to reveal hidden properties and features of a network. This network profiling combined with knowledge extraction will help us to better understand the biological significance of the system. [less ▲]

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See detailA reference guide for tree analysis and visualization
Pavlopoulos, Georgios A.; Soldatos, Theodoros G.; Barbosa Da Silva, Adriano UL et al

in BioData Mining (2010), 3(1), 1

The quantities of data obtained by the new high-throughput technologies, such as microarrays or ChIP-Chip arrays, and the large-scale OMICS-approaches, such as genomics, proteomics and transcriptomics ... [more ▼]

The quantities of data obtained by the new high-throughput technologies, such as microarrays or ChIP-Chip arrays, and the large-scale OMICS-approaches, such as genomics, proteomics and transcriptomics, are becoming vast. Sequencing technologies become cheaper and easier to use and, thus, large-scale evolutionary studies towards the origins of life for all species and their evolution becomes more and more challenging. Databases holding information about how data are related and how they are hierarchically organized expand rapidly. Clustering analysis is becoming more and more difficult to be applied on very large amounts of data since the results of these algorithms cannot be efficiently visualized. Most of the available visualization tools that are able to represent such hierarchies, project data in 2D and are lacking often the necessary user friendliness and interactivity. For example, the current phylogenetic tree visualization tools are not able to display easy to understand large scale trees with more than a few thousand nodes. In this study, we review tools that are currently available for the visualization of biological trees and analysis, mainly developed during the last decade. We describe the uniform and standard computer readable formats to represent tree hierarchies and we comment on the functionality and the limitations of these tools. We also discuss on how these tools can be developed further and should become integrated with various data sources. Here we focus on freely available software that offers to the users various tree-representation methodologies for biological data analysis. [less ▲]

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See detailA series of PDB related databases for everyday needs
Joosten, R.; Beek, T.; Krieger, E. et al

in Nucleic Acids Research (2010), 39(1), 411-419

The Protein Data Bank (PDB) is the world-wide repository of macromolecular structure information. We present a series of databases that run parallel to the PDB. Each database holds one entry, if possible ... [more ▼]

The Protein Data Bank (PDB) is the world-wide repository of macromolecular structure information. We present a series of databases that run parallel to the PDB. Each database holds one entry, if possible, for each PDB entry. DSSP holds the secondary structure of the proteins. PDBREPORT holds reports on the structure quality and lists errors. HSSP holds a multiple sequence alignment for all proteins. The PDBFINDER holds easy to parse summaries of the PDB file content, augmented with essentials from the other systems. PDB_REDO holds re-refined, and often improved, copies of all structures solved by X-ray. WHY_NOT summarizes why certain files could not be produced. All these systems are updated weekly. The data sets can be used for the analysis of properties of protein structures in areas ranging from structural genomics, to cancer biology and protein design. [less ▲]

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See detailLive Coverage of Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology
Lister, Allyson L.; Datta, Ruchira S.; Hofmann, Oliver et al

in PLoS Computational Biology (2010), 6

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See detailLive Coverage of Scientific Conferences Using Web Technologies
Lister, Allyson L.; Datta, Ruchira S.; Hofmann, Oliver et al

in PLoS Computational Biology (2010), 6(1), 1-2

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See detailMartini: using literature keywords to compare gene sets.
Soldatos, Theodoros G.; O'Donoghue, Sean I.; Satagopam, Venkata UL et al

in Nucleic acids research (2010), 38(1), 26-38

Life scientists are often interested to compare two gene sets to gain insight into differences between two distinct, but related, phenotypes or conditions. Several tools have been developed for comparing ... [more ▼]

Life scientists are often interested to compare two gene sets to gain insight into differences between two distinct, but related, phenotypes or conditions. Several tools have been developed for comparing gene sets, most of which find Gene Ontology (GO) terms that are significantly over-represented in one gene set. However, such tools often return GO terms that are too generic or too few to be informative. Here, we present Martini, an easy-to-use tool for comparing gene sets. Martini is based, not on GO, but on keywords extracted from Medline abstracts; Martini also supports a much wider range of species than comparable tools. To evaluate Martini we created a benchmark based on the human cell cycle, and we tested several comparable tools (CoPub, FatiGO, Marmite and ProfCom). Martini had the best benchmark performance, delivering a more detailed and accurate description of function. Martini also gave best or equal performance with three other datasets (related to Arabidopsis, melanoma and ovarian cancer), suggesting that Martini represents an advance in the automated comparison of gene sets. In agreement with previous studies, our results further suggest that literature-derived keywords are a richer source of gene-function information than GO annotations. Martini is freely available at http://martini.embl.de. [less ▲]

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See detailGPCRs, G-proteins, Effectors and their interactions: Human-gpDB, a database employing advanced visualization tools and data integration techniques
Satagopam, Venkata UL; Theodoropoulou, Margarita C.; Christos, Stampolakis K. et al

in Database: the Journal of Biological Databases and Curation (2010)

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a major family of membrane receptors in eukaryotic cells. They play a crucial role in the communication of a cell with the environment. Ligands bind to GPCRs on the ... [more ▼]

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a major family of membrane receptors in eukaryotic cells. They play a crucial role in the communication of a cell with the environment. Ligands bind to GPCRs on the outside of the cell, activating them by causing a conformational change, and allowing them to bind to G-proteins. Through their interaction with G-proteins, several effector molecules are activated leading to many kinds of cellular and physiological responses. The great importance of GPCRs and their corresponding signal transduction pathways is indicated by the fact that they take part in many diverse disease processes and that a large part of efforts towards drug development today is focused on them. We present Human-gpDB, a database which currently holds information about 713 human GPCRs, 36 human G-proteins and 99 human effectors. The collection of information about the interactions between these molecules was done manually and the current version of Human-gpDB holds information for about 1663 connections between GPCRs and G-proteins and 1618 connections between G-proteins and effectors. Major advantages of Human-gpDB are the integration of several external data sources and the support of advanced visualization techniques. Human-gpDB is a simple, yet a powerful tool for researchers in the life sciences field as it integrates an up-to-date, carefully curated collection of human GPCRs, G-proteins, effectors and their interactions. The database may be a reference guide for medical and pharmaceutical research, especially in the areas of understanding human diseases and chemical and drug discovery. [less ▲]

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See detailLAITOR - Literature Assistant for Identification of Terms co-Occurrences and Relationships.
Barbosa Da Silva, Adriano UL; Soldatos, Theodoros G.; Magalhaes, Ivan L. F. et al

in BMC Bioinformatics (2010), 11

BACKGROUND: Biological knowledge is represented in scientific literature that often describes the function of genes/proteins (bioentities) in terms of their interactions (biointeractions). Such ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Biological knowledge is represented in scientific literature that often describes the function of genes/proteins (bioentities) in terms of their interactions (biointeractions). Such bioentities are often related to biological concepts of interest that are specific of a determined research field. Therefore, the study of the current literature about a selected topic deposited in public databases, facilitates the generation of novel hypotheses associating a set of bioentities to a common context. RESULTS: We created a text mining system (LAITOR: Literature Assistant for Identification of Terms co-Occurrences and Relationships) that analyses co-occurrences of bioentities, biointeractions, and other biological terms in MEDLINE abstracts. The method accounts for the position of the co-occurring terms within sentences or abstracts. The system detected abstracts mentioning protein-protein interactions in a standard test (BioCreative II IAS test data) with a precision of 0.82-0.89 and a recall of 0.48-0.70. We illustrate the application of LAITOR to the detection of plant response genes in a dataset of 1000 abstracts relevant to the topic. CONCLUSIONS: Text mining tools combining the extraction of interacting bioentities and biological concepts with network displays can be helpful in developing reasonable hypotheses in different scientific backgrounds. [less ▲]

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See detailDefective Lamin A-Rb Signaling in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome and Reversal by Farnesyltransferase Inhibition
Marji, Jackleen; O'Donoghue, Sean I.; McClintock, Dayle et al

in PLoS ONE (2010), 5(6),

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a rare premature aging disorder caused by a de novo heterozygous point mutation G608G (GGC>GGT) within exon 11 of LMNA gene encoding A-type nuclear lamins ... [more ▼]

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a rare premature aging disorder caused by a de novo heterozygous point mutation G608G (GGC>GGT) within exon 11 of LMNA gene encoding A-type nuclear lamins. This mutation elicits an internal deletion of 50 amino acids in the carboxyl-terminus of prelamin A. The truncated protein, progerin, retains a farnesylated cysteine at its carboxyl terminus, a modification involved in HGPS pathogenesis. Inhibition of protein farnesylation has been shown to improve abnormal nuclear morphology and phenotype in cellular and animal models of HGPS. We analyzed global gene expression changes in fibroblasts from human subjects with HGPS and found that a lamin A-Rb signaling network is a major defective regulatory axis. Treatment of fibroblasts with a protein farnesyltransferase inhibitor reversed the gene expression defects. Our study identifies Rb as a key factor in HGPS pathogenesis and suggests that its modulation could ameliorate premature aging and possibly complications of physiological aging. [less ▲]

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See detailReflect: A practical approach to web semantics
O'Donoghue, Sean I.; Horn, Heiko; Pafilis, Evangelos et al

in Journal of Web Semantics (2010), 8(2-3), 182-189

To date, adding semantic capabilities to web content usually requires considerable server-side re-engineering, thus only a tiny fraction of all web content currently has semantic annotations. Recently, we ... [more ▼]

To date, adding semantic capabilities to web content usually requires considerable server-side re-engineering, thus only a tiny fraction of all web content currently has semantic annotations. Recently, we announced Reflect (http://reflect.ws), a free service that takes a more practical approach: Reflect uses augmented browsing to allow end-users to add systematic semantic annotations to any web-page in real-time, typically within seconds. In this paper we describe the tagging process in detail and show how further entity types can be added to Reflect; we also describe how publishers and content providers can access Reflect programmatically using SOAP, REST (HTTP post), and JavaScript. Usage of Reflect has grown rapidly within the life sciences, and while currently only genes, protein and small molecule names are tagged, we plan to soon expand the scope to include a much broader range of terms (e. g., Wikipedia entries). The popularity of Reflect demonstrates the use and feasibility of letting end-users decide how and when to add semantic annotations. Ultimately, 'semantics is in the eye of the end-user', hence we believe end-user approaches such as Reflect will become increasingly important in semantic web technologies. [less ▲]

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