‘Sangam’ in Tamil stands for “a council of scholars”. It is based on the Proteus project (http://dblab.usc.edu/WebServices/) that aims at building a scalable middleware for composing web sources. Proteus has been developed at the computer science department at USC. Sangam uses the Proteus functionality to build interoperability between neuroinformatics systems, namely NeuroScholar, BAMS, the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS), NCBI systems (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/), the Kyoto Encyclopedia for Genes and Genomes (KEGG, <http://www.genome.jp/kegg/) and the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Bioinformatics (NCICB, http://ncicb.nci.nih.gov/). It provides a ‘what-oriented’ interface to facilitate the seamless, rapid integration of different data sources using the context provided by local databases of scientific data. We succeeded in winning external funding from Microsoft as an unrestricted cash gift ($50,000 for one year).
We expect the Sangam GUI to evolve in future according to the needs of our neuroscientists. We aim to refine the GUI by extending its functionality in a number of ways. For example, it may be useful for scientists to be able to access the three-dimensional structure of nucleotide or protein sequences retrieved in the interface’s Molecule environment. In the long run, Sangam will serve as the meeting point for various knowledge factory implementations.
The Sangam demo can be accessed here.