The Neuroscience Information Framework

MaryAnn Martone

University of California, San Diego


The Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF) is a dynamic inventory of web-based neurosciences data, resources, and tools that scientists and students can access via any computer connected to the Internet. An initiative of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, the NIF will advance neuroscience research by enabling discovery and access to public research data and tools worldwide through an open source, networked environment. A critical component of the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF) project is a consistent, flexible terminology that can be used to describe and retrieve neuroscience-relevant resources. With the advent of the World Wide Web—an ever-evolving, easy-to-access, shared information systems—the need for a shared semantic framework for neuroscience has become critically important, all the more so if individual researchers and automated search agents are to access and utilize the most up-to-date information. To address this need, NIF has created NeuroLex, a comprehensive collection of common neuroscience domain terminologies woven into an ontologically consistent, unified representation of the biomedical domains typically used to describe neuroscience data. In this presentation, I will discuss the strategy and approaches of the NIF vocabularies, and highlight some of the work that we and others are doing to promote community involvement in building and extending the NIF.


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