Sep 152011
Today we're taking the wraps off of two simple, but handy tools that we have developed to encourage wider adoption of the HAO. The first, our "analyzer" is simply a tool that takes a block of text and compares it to labels found in the HAO. This tool is aimed at addressing a commonly seen element of taxonomic revisions: the statements in a Materials and Methods section that indicate where anatomic concepts were first defined or in what context they are being used (e.g. "wing venation is described following the conventions of Smith, 1945). The analyzer allows users to explicitly reference anatomical concepts by providing resolvable URIs for them. It further highlights where potential conflicts may arise, for example, "you're using 'paramere', did you know that 'paramere' many different ways?" (try "paramere" for fun).

The HAO has pretty good lexical coverage, but you'll inevitably find some favorite term that's not included when you deploy the analyzer. When this happens you can use the second new feature, a simple feedback form that notifies the curators regarding improvements, corrections, or additions.

For those of you who are a little hacking-savvy we're also unwrapping the (very) alpha version of our API to the HAO. The API provides the underlying functionality used by the analyzer to your Web applications. Please feel free to provide feedback on the API directly on the wiki.

Finally- note that all of these new components are just core pieces of mx, i.e. they can be adopted for new ontology projects completely unrelated to the HAO, if so desired.