In early November Wasila and I attended the AmphibAnat workshop in Kansas City, MO (Nov. 5-8) that was organized by Anne Maglia. As you may know, Phenoscape has a close relationship with this group, not only because they work on herps (ichthyologists and herpetologists have a long tradition of working together…), but because they are also developing ontologies to annotate the published comparative anatomical literature. I presented the status of our work in Phenoscape to the large group (~40) of amphibian development and anatomy experts who were present. As these folks added new terms, synonyms, and images to the amphibian ontologies over the course of the next few days, we solicited comments on the prototypes of three new interfaces for the Phenoscape Knowledgebase. Using both images and paper copies of these prototypes, we invited people to sit down with us on a one-on-one basis and describe in detail what worked and what was missing or unclear. The feedback was extremely useful, and we appreciated the AmphibAnat time. We have now gone over all the comments within Phenoscape and logged them individually to FogBugz, our internal tracking system. We’ll be generating new versions of these prototypes through early February, when we plan a formal round of usability testing.
The first Phenoscape Data Jamboree (we are scheduled to have one each year) is starting today at NESCent. The event brings three fish morphologists external to the project (Miles Coburn, Kevin Conway, Mário de Pinna) together with our morphologist, ontology, and informatics personnel. In addition, Nicole Washington (NCBO) and Martin Ringwald (Jackson Laboratory), two experts from communities that have made considerable strides in bringing ontology-driven and semantically explicit approaches to bear on annotating gene function and mouse phenotypes and gene expression, respectively, are here to serve in an advisory role.