, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 219-227,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 31 Oct 2008

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.