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Published September 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

The NIF LinkOut Broker: A Web Resource to Facilitate Federated Data Integration using NCBI Identifiers


This paper describes the NIF LinkOut Broker (NLB) that has been built as part of the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF) project. The NLB is designed to coordinate the assembly of links to neuroscience information items (e.g., experimental data, knowledge bases, and software tools) that are (1) accessible via the Web, and (2) related to entries in the National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI's) Entrez system. The NLB collects these links from each resource and passes them to the NCBI which incorporates them into its Entrez LinkOut service. In this way, an Entrez user looking at a specific Entrez entry can LinkOut directly to related neuroscience information. The information stored in the NLB can also be utilized in other ways. A second approach, which is operational on a pilot basis, is for the NLB Web server to create dynamically its own Web page of LinkOut links for each NCBI identifier in the NLB database. This approach can allow other resources (in addition to the NCBI Entrez) to LinkOut to related neuroscience information. The paper describes the current NLB system and discusses certain design issues that arose during its implementation.

Additional Information

© The Author(s) 2008. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited. Received: 15 August 2008 Accepted: 26 August 2008 Published online: 31 October 2008. This project has been funded in whole or in part through the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research with Federal funds from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN271200577531C. This research was also supported by NIH grants P01 DC04732 and R01 DA021253, Volunteer consultant-collaborators and friends, and The Society for Neuroscience. We would like to especially acknowledge the work done implementing the automated resource registration and interoperability protocols, including ndg.disco, by Mihail Bota at UCLA for the Brain Architecture Management System and by David Kennedy at the Massachusetts General Hospital for the Internet Brain Volume Database.

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