Abstracts :: Chang Feng Quo

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Community annotation in translational biomedical informatics: lessons from Wikipedia

Chang Feng Quo, May Dongmei Wang
Department of Bioengineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Wikipedia demonstrates that community annotation can work indeed, and on a very large scale.  Most recent statistics from November 2005 to October 2006 for the English-language version [1] reveal a monthly average of ~1700 new articles and ~7900 new regular contributors, or Wikipedians.  Based on this proven success in documenting existing knowledge, scientific researchers are naturally motivated to replicate this model of community annotation, especially in data-rich domains such as biomedical informatics.

However, in the wake of emerging open-source projects in translational biomedical informatics, developers have not considered potential pitfalls sufficiently in a direct transplant of the Wikipedia model.  Problems arise because contributors’ roles and project goals differ significantly.

We aim to discover working principles to create, develop and sustain open-source projects for translational biomedical informatics.  Specifically, we will review community annotation in translational biomedical informatics in terms of (a) ideology and (b) bread-and-butter issues.  We discuss these issues juxtaposed with lessons learnt from the growth and experience of Wikipedia [2].  Furthermore, we will discuss examples of recent open-source projects in translational biomedical informatics such as RadiologyWiki [3] and ArrayWiki [4].

[1] Wikipedia Statistics – English. http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaEN.htm
[2] Wikipedia – About. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About
[3] J L Streeter, M T Lu, and F J Rybicki. Radiologywiki.org: the free radiology resource that anyone can edit. RadioGraphics 2007, vol.27: pp. 1193-1200. Feb 5 2007. http://www.radiologywiki.org/wiki
[4] T H Stokes, J T Torrance, H Li, and M D Wang. ArrayWiki: an enabling technology for sharing public microarray data repositories and meta-analyses. BMC Bioinformatics 2008, vol.9(suppl 6): S18. 28 May 2008. http://www.bio-miblab.org/arraywiki
[5] The Open Knowledge Foundation. http://www.okfn.org/

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