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Open Access Research

BioUSeR: a semantic-based tool for retrieving Life Science web resources driven by text-rich user requirements

María Pérez1*, Rafael Berlanga2, Ismael Sanz1 and María José Aramburu1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain

2 Department of Computer Languages and Systems, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain

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Journal of Biomedical Semantics 2013, 4:12  doi:10.1186/2041-1480-4-12

Published: 1 May 2013

Abstract

Background

Open metadata registries are a fundamental tool for researchers in the Life Sciences trying to locate resources. While most current registries assume that resources are annotated with well-structured metadata, evidence shows that most of the resource annotations simply consists of informal free text. This reality must be taken into account in order to develop effective techniques for resource discovery in Life Sciences.

Results

BioUSeR is a semantic-based tool aimed at retrieving Life Sciences resources described in free text. The retrieval process is driven by the user requirements, which consist of a target task and a set of facets of interest, both expressed in free text. BioUSeR is able to effectively exploit the available textual descriptions to find relevant resources by using semantic-aware techniques.

Conclusions

BioUSeR overcomes the limitations of the current registries thanks to: (i) rich specification of user information needs, (ii) use of semantics to manage textual descriptions, (iii) retrieval and ranking of resources based on user requirements.

Keywords:
Resources discovery; Semantic annotation; Information retrieval; Life science