Integrating information in the molecular biosciences involves more than the cross-referencing of sequences or structures. Experimental protocols, results of computational analyses, annotations and links to relevant literature form integral parts of this information, and impart meaning to sequence or structure. In this review, we examine some existing approaches to integrating information in the molecular biosciences. We consider not only technical issues concerning the integration of heterogeneous data sources and the corresponding semantic implications, but also the integration of analytical results. Within the broad range of strategies for integration of data and information, we distinguish between platforms and developments. We discuss two current platforms and six current developments, and identify what we believe to be their strengths and limitations. We identify key unsolved problems in integrating information in the molecular biosciences, and discuss possible strategies for addressing them including semantic integration using ontologies, XML as a data model, and graphical user interfaces as integrative environments.
Field of Research
080199 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing not elsewhere classified