Standards for data representation and minimum information enhance the value of experiments. However, even if all researchers and clinicians who generate data agree on what details are required, it is not possible for a computer to recognize this information unless the terms that are used are also standardized.
Ontologies, by providing a common vocabulary to annotate data, are essential to facilitate the interchange of flow cytometric analyses between software packages, investigators and laboratories. By using ontologies, scientists will be able to compare results that might have seemed irreconcilable before, by adding the missing biological context to the data file.
The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations, OBI (formerly known as the Functional Genomics Investigation Ontology, FuGO) is developing an integrated ontology that can be applied to the description of Flow Cytometry (FCM) data. OBI is an international-open collaborative effort by several groups representing technological and biological domains. It seeks to develop an integrated ontology that provides both a set of universal terms and domain-specific extensions for terms relevant only to a given domain. The purpose of this ontology is to support the consistent annotation of biomedical investigations, regardless of the particular field of study. The ontology will model the design of an investigation, the protocols and instrumentation used, the material used, the data generated and the type analysis performed on it.
Rather than developing an ontology specifically to annotate flow cytometry experiments, we have joined the OBI effort and we capitalize on the ontology being developed across various biological and technological domains.
Please visit the OBI site to get the latest version of the OBI ontology.
|Last update: December 6th, 2007|