Wednesday, October 20, 2010

HAO/BioSynC Meeting

Group Photo

Most of the participants of the meeting. For a list/labeled group photo please visit the HOA wiki.

Two weeks ago (October 13th-17th) we held our much anticipated HAO/BioSynC meeting, “Integrating ontologies with biodiversity research: an example from Hymenoptera and the EOL”, here in Raleigh, NC and we are very pleased with the outcome. The meeting consisted of a number of national and international researchers, brought in to 1) add and discuss content specific to Hymenoptera anatomy and 2) develop ways in which we can integrate our ontology into a number of web services, including the EOL (which funded the meeting). Information about the participants and some specifics of the meeting (that will be evolving with some post-meeting details) can be found here. Overall we had some great discussions (arguments?) about a number of issues during both the morphology section (Days 1-3) and the technical section (Days 4 & 5).

During the morphology section we focused on both building the ontology and teaching users how to navigate and contribute. We talked about issues such as whether/how to choose preferred terms, how to define wing veins and head areas (e.g. the limits of the gena), and did a lot of work in taxon-focused groups to audit the present HAO content. Though we encountered some difficulties, e.g. trying to detach ourselves from thinking about homology, we made clear progress and at least sowed the seeds for upcoming HAO domain/content meetings.


Morphology section

The technical section consisted of a smaller group of bioinformaticians and ontologists. We heard from David Osumi-Sutherland about the Drosophila gross anatomy ontology and from Gary Merrill on some philosophies behind building a good ontology. We also talked about integrating the HAO with the EOL and other online services (Morphster, Plazi, etc.) while brain-storming future directions and enrichment of the ontology.


Technical section

All of the days concluded with great dinners and drinks, which inspired even more conversation – either extending the day’s arguments or going into more light-hearted, dinner subjects. All-in-all the meeting went great and we really appreciate and thank all of the participants for their enthusiasm and expertise throughout the meeting!

Mitch's Tavern

Dinner at Mitch's Tavern

BBQ at Andy's

BBQ at Andy Deans's house


Dinner at Sitti

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Matt Y. added a nice feature to the HAO's public interface - the pulse. It's an RSS feed that gives you the latest edits to the HAO. Check it out (to the right, as well)!

HAO pulse RSS