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The inherent complexity of traditional relational database systems is a key obstacle to more widespread use of database technology in the neuroscience community. As an alternative to relational technology, we propose a simpler semistructured data model for documenting laboratory procedures and results. The semistructured data model allows researchers to document their data in an organized, regularly formatted, machine-readable, and network accessible manner, without requiring the services of database professionals. We present proof-of-concept software, consisting of an HTML interface that communicates with a remotely located, semistructured database. We also discuss the importance of standardized terminology and the importance of building flexible data description systems that are more easily adapted and reconfigured to conform with standardized terminologies as they evolve.
Index entriesSemistructured data XML database data entry electronic laboratory notebook neuroscience neurosys
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