Prof. Terri Attwood, University of Manchester
The Road to Utopia: challenges in linking literature and research data
This presentation describes a personal journey in which a lifetime preoccupation with protein sequences and databases led to the unlikely development of Utopia Documents, a 'smart' PDF reader (http://getutopia.com), and a pioneering project to create the "Semantic Biochemical Journal". Our quest was motivated by a desire to better link data and software tools with scientific articles, to soften the boundaries between databases and papers. During an era of "big data", when more articles are being published and more data are being produced than humans can readily assimilate, Utopia Documents offers a new paradigm for extracting nuggets of information from the barrage of published scientific information that now assaults us every day. Examples will be given from the Lazarus project, in which Utopia harnesses the power of the "crowd" to capture asserted facts and relationships automatically, as a simple side-effect of reading and interacting with scientific articles.