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OpenDMAP: An open source, ontology-driven concept analysis engine, with applications to capturing knowledge regarding protein transport, protein interactions and cell-type-specific gene expression

Lawrence Hunter1*, Zhiyong Lu2, James Firby3, William A Baumgartner1, Helen L Johnson1, Philip V Ogren4 and K Bretonnel Cohen1

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Computational Pharmacology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

2 National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA

3 PowerSet, Inc., San Francisco, CA 94107, USA

4 Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9:78  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-78

Published: 31 January 2008



Information extraction (IE) efforts are widely acknowledged to be important in harnessing the rapid advance of biomedical knowledge, particularly in areas where important factual information is published in a diverse literature. Here we report on the design, implementation and several evaluations of OpenDMAP, an ontology-driven, integrated concept analysis system. It significantly advances the state of the art in information extraction by leveraging knowledge in ontological resources, integrating diverse text processing applications, and using an expanded pattern language that allows the mixing of syntactic and semantic elements and variable ordering.


OpenDMAP information extraction systems were produced for extracting protein transport assertions (transport), protein-protein interaction assertions (interaction) and assertions that a gene is expressed in a cell type (expression). Evaluations were performed on each system, resulting in F-scores ranging from .26 – .72 (precision .39 – .85, recall .16 – .85). Additionally, each of these systems was run over all abstracts in MEDLINE, producing a total of 72,460 transport instances, 265,795 interaction instances and 176,153 expression instances.


OpenDMAP advances the performance standards for extracting protein-protein interaction predications from the full texts of biomedical research articles. Furthermore, this level of performance appears to generalize to other information extraction tasks, including extracting information about predicates of more than two arguments. The output of the information extraction system is always constructed from elements of an ontology, ensuring that the knowledge representation is grounded with respect to a carefully constructed model of reality. The results of these efforts can be used to increase the efficiency of manual curation efforts and to provide additional features in systems that integrate multiple sources for information extraction. The open source OpenDMAP code library is freely available at webcite