[DAS2] RSS in Science Publishing

Chervitz, Steve Steve_Chervitz at affymetrix.com
Fri Dec 17 20:22:11 UTC 2004

Here's an interesting article:


It makes me think about the applicability of RSS to DAS. DAS is in fact a
type of content syndication. Wouldn't it be cool if you could hook up an
off-the-shelf RSS reader to a DAS server and get an RSS feed for a specified
genomic region or feature or all features or a particular type?

Here's a DAS-RSS scenario: A curator adds or updates an annotation on a DAS
server, the server determines whether the modified region/feature/type is
syndicated and, if so, publishes an RSS entry describing what was changed
(or simply, "region/feature/type foo was changed"). The RSS entry would
contain a URL encoding a DAS request for the region/feature/type, which one
could then open in a DAS client for further exploration. Maybe the DAS
client itself would be the RSS reader -- presenting the user with a window
listing RSS entry titles and links to browse them graphically.

Perhaps more useful would be a DAS-RSS aggregator that listens to multiple
DAS servers and consolidates them so that a user could get RSS notifications
from multiple servers for a given region/feature/type. The DAS/RSS client
could provide this aggregation function, letting the user choose which
servers and data sources they want to aggregate.

The usefulness here is limited by the fact that you only get notified about
things that changed. However, one could in principle also hook the DAS-RSS
client into the world of scientific publications by pointing it at a
scientific publisher's RSS feed. When an article about
organism/region/feature/type of interest gets published, the client
generates the appropriate DAS request URL(s) so you can browse them in the
graphical viewer. 

If publishers include appropriate metadata about the articles using standard
ontologies and taxonomies, this scenario may not be such a leap. The "if" in
the previous statement may not be that big. The presence of Nature,
Elsevier, and the NLM at the W3C meeting indicates that publishers are
catching on.

I don't know how easy it would be to RSS-ifying the DAS spec. Doing this
might be too radical of a change from DAS/1. It might be better to layer the
DAS-RSS functionality on top of DAS, so it could work with both DAS/2 and
DAS/1 servers. Thoughts?


------ Forwarded Message
From: Ben Lund <b.lund at nature.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 08:18:23 -0800
To: <public-semweb-lifesci at w3.org>
Subject: Announcement:  D-Lib article on RSS in Science Publishing

Hi All, 

Apologies if any of you have seen this already, but I just wanted to
point you towards our new paper published a couple of days ago in D-Lib
Magazine (http://www.dlib.org/).  It goes into more depth on a number of
the issues that I talked about at the Semantic Web for Life Sciences
workshop in October:

The Role of RSS in Science Publishing:
Syndication and Annotation on the Web

by Tony Hammond, Timo Hannay and Ben Lund,
Nature Publishing Group


Hopefully it'll be of interest.


D-Lib Magazine is a solely electronic publication with a primary focus
on digital library research and development, including but not limited
to new technologies, applications, and contextual social and economic
issues. D-Lib Magazine is produced by the Corporation for National
Research Initiatives (CNRI), has been sponsored by the Defense Advanced
Research Project Agency (DARPA), and is currently being funded by the
National Science Foundation (NSF).



--Ben Lund 
--New Technology 
--Nature Publishing Group


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