The value of society's investment in science is strongly dependent on the ability of future scientists to build on the results of previous results. As the pace of scientific productivity has accelerated through genomics and other Big Data technologies, the ability of scientist to master the literature is increasingly dependent on computational tools. One important aspect of making data more reusable is the association of data with annotations that can be used in computer-based data mining and analyses.
My group works on the development and use of biological ontologies, which are sets of standardized controlled vocabularies for annotation. Our current focus is on the Ontology for Microbial Phenotypes, which is being constructed to facilitate the reuse and analysis of data from the awesome power of microbial genetics. We also work with the Gene Ontology Consortium on the annotation of gene functions, an have developed systems for integrating annotation with education in the Community Assessment of Community Annotation with Ontologies (CACAO)
We have also worked on developing systems for building model organism databases for community annotation, including EcoliWiki, which reuses and modifies the open source software built for Wikipedia to provide more specialized scientific data resources.