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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 3 (2002), Issue 1, Pages 42-46

Ontology Based Document Enrichment in Bioinformatics

Department of Computer Science, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Received 6 December 2001; Accepted 6 December 2001

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Controlled vocabularies are common within bioinformatics resources. They can be used to give a summary of the knowledge held about a particular entity. They are also used to constrain values given for particular attributes of an entity. This helps create a shared understanding of a domain and aids increased precision and recall during querying of resources. Ontologies can also provide such facilities, but can also enhance their utility. Controlled vocabularies are often simply lists of words, but may be viewed as a kind of ontology. Ideally ontologies are structurally enriched with relationships between terms within the vocabulary. Use of such rich forms of vocabularies in database annotation could enhance those resources usability by both humans and computers. The representation of the knowledge content of biological resources in a computationally accessible form opens the prospect of greater support for a biologist investigating new data.