Database Techniques for Biological Materials and Methods

K. Baclawski, R. Futrelle, N. Fridman, and M. J. Pescitelli

The Biological sciences produce an enormous research literature every year. Research papers are highly structured documents whose content is not captured using the traditional techniques of information retrieval: keywords and flat text. This is especially true of the Materials and Methods section of experimental papers. A great deal of highly structured information is packed into this section. It involves logical and temporal sequences of operations that combine and operate on materials using various instruments and depending on many parameters. We are designing and implementing databases that will allow this complex knowledge to be represented, stored in" object-oriented databases and retrieved. We are developing an application of this technology called the Laboratory Notebook. This application is a software system that will contain personal laboratory information as well as have access to databases of Materials and Methods sections drawn from the literature.

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