The NIF DISCO Framework: Facilitating Automated Integration of Neuroscience Content on the Web
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This paper describes the capabilities of DISCO, an extensible approach that supports integrative Web-based information dissemination. DISCO is a component of the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF), an NIH Neuroscience Blueprint initiative that facilitates integrated access to diverse neuroscience resources via the Internet. DISCO facilitates the automated maintenance of several distinct capabilities using a collection of files 1) that are maintained locally by the developers of participating neuroscience resources and 2) that are “harvested” on a regular basis by a central DISCO server. This approach allows central NIF capabilities to be updated as each resource’s content changes over time. DISCO currently supports the following capabilities: 1) resource descriptions, 2) “LinkOut” to a resource’s data items from NCBI Entrez resources such as PubMed, 3) Web-based interoperation with a resource, 4) sharing a resource’s lexicon and ontology, 5) sharing a resource’s database schema, and 6) participation by the resource in neuroscience-related RSS news dissemination. The developers of a resource are free to choose which DISCO capabilities their resource will participate in. Although DISCO is used by NIF to facilitate neuroscience data integration, its capabilities have general applicability to other areas of research.