Worm Breeder's Gazette 13(4): 22 (October 1, 1994)

These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.

Worm Community System Users Envision Future Application.

Laura Shoman, Curt Jamison, Ed Grossman, Bruce Schatz

Community Systems Laboratory, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 405 North Mathews, Urbana, IL 61801 (wcs@csl.ncsa.uiuc.edu)

  An enthusiastic group of C. elegans researchers attended the first Worm
Community System (WCS) User Workshop held at the University of Illinois in Urbana,
August 13 and 14, 1994. The Worm Community System is a digital library that
contains knowledge about C. elegans, and a software environment that enables the
user to interact with the community library across the international computer
network, the Internet. The functions of the software environment enable the user to
browse, search and retrieve the existing knowledge of the community. In addition,
users may add data and literature to the library for timely dissemination to the
research community and for private collaboration with colleagues at local or remote
sites. This capacity for dynamically updating information should help to better
propagate knowledge across the community.
  Keith Steward, Ann Sluder, Shai Shaham, Barb Robertson, Ian Korf, Steve
Donkin, and Ian Caldicott arrived in the cornfields of the Illinois prairie for two days of
demonstration and discussion about the future of information systems for the C.
elegans community. The workshop was broken into a demonstration period, time for
hands-on use of the system by participants, and discussion sessions focusing on
current methods of use and future development of WCS. The CSL development team is
assessing current and future community needs and will be submitting a grant
proposal to NSF based on user feedback and the workshop experience.
  The chief interface concern was the development of a native Macintosh version
(the current release requires a Sun workstation); development of user preferences that
would allow individuals to customize the display, confidence levels reflected in data
displays; and the need for online, context-sensitive help to guide novice users through
the myriad of features available in WCS.
  The "wish list" for additional features within the system include the following
items: Cell lineage (and images of cell development); the wiring diagram; an
interactive genetic map; and additional genetic information for mapping, including
new gene descriptions and interaction data at both the epistatic and functional levels.
The overall push is from molecular data to cellular data.
  The data accessible through the new release includes Worm Breeders Gazette
through Volume 13, including text and figures; CGC abstracts; cell lineage; and
molecular data from ACeDB 2.10. WCS release 2.0 is required to access this new
data321unlike the first release of WCS, the data is not stored on a local hard drive, but is
accessed dynamically from a server at the University of Illinois in Urbana.
  Community Systems Laboratory, the research team developing WCS, is keenly
interested in the C. elegans research community's response to the recently released
version of WCS (2.0). The "front end" software and extensive user documentation is
available via anonymous ftp from csl.ncsa.uiuc.edu. There are several README files
containing configuration tips and system requirements. Your comments are invited.
Send e-mail to wcs@csl.ncsa.uiuc.edu