Ontologies for the life sciences

In Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics, vol. 4. Wiley (2005)
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Abstract
Where humans can manipulate and integrate the information they receive in subtle and ever-changing ways from context to context, computers need structured and context-free background information of a sort which ontologies can help to provide. A domain ontology captures the stable, highly general and commonly accepted core knowledge for an application domain. The domain at issue here is that of the life sciences, in particular molecular biology and bioinformatics. Contemporary life science research includes components drawn from physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine and many other areas, and all of these dimensions, as well as fundamental philosophical issues, must be taken into account in the construction of a domain ontology. Here we describe the basic features of domain ontologies in the life sciences and show how they can be used.
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