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The Evolution of Data

Over the 50 years how we collect and play music has changed dramatically from physical copies on Vinyl through to electronic mp3s. Each new technology often requires a new device and format to play yet it is still essentially just music.

Evolution of data

Some things change. Some things stay the same

Over the 50 years how we collect and play music has changed dramatically from physical copies on Vinyl through to electronic mp3s. Each new technology often requires a new device and format to play yet it is still essentially just music. As an end user, you are simply wanting to listen to your ever expanding music collection but are face with either using multiple devices or integrating your collection onto the latest format.

Many parallels can be drawn with scientific data. Science is an ever-advancing field, the increasing volume, variety and velocity of data generated through research activities require constant updates to collection, storage and interrogation approaches.

 

Nothing lasts Forever

Structured data architectures are frequently updated to satisfy these demands. Each time the architecture changes, all related connections, integrations and queries need to be reviewed and updated if necessary. Multiply this effort out by all the different sources of information used in Scientific Research and you’ve a large job on your hands in simply maintaining an existing environment even before you think about expanding it.

At the Open PHACTS (http://openphacts.org) closing meeting in Vienna recently, our Chief Scientific Officer Lee Harland spoke about the challenges facing life scientists and the constantly evolving data space in particular (full slides available at http://www.slideshare.net/scibitely/open-phacts-linked-data-future-challenges). One of the elements of this was a look at the changes in architecture of the popular Chembl database (https://www.ebi.ac.uk/chembl/) which relates drugs and other chemicals to their biological effects over the last few years..

Watch how even just the red section where all compounds are stored evolves from just two tables to 17 tables in just a few years. In life sciences, we face a dual challenge of not only incorporating data of the future, but also the fact that existing data will not stand still.

 

>One direction

SciBite’s entity extraction software approaches this conundrum from a different direction. Rather than worrying about the music format or what device is required to play it with, we focus on the raw data much akin to reading the notes themselves. The notes form a pattern which when cross referenced with your memory are identified as a track you know or like regardless of how and where the music is played.

 

Substitute the notes with scientific text and your musical mind with SciBite’s Life Science vocabularies covering millions of concepts and you needn’t worry about if/how the data is structured or what format it is stored in, just focus on the content.

 

That’s music to my ears…

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