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This article is part of the supplement: Italian Society of Bioinformatics (BITS): Annual Meeting 2007

Open Access Research

SWS: accessing SRS sites contents through Web Services

Paolo Romano* and Domenico Marra

Author Affiliations

Bioinformatics, National Cancer Research Institute (IST), Genova, I-16132, Italy

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BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9(Suppl 2):S15  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-S2-S15

Published: 26 March 2008

Abstract

Background

Web Services and Workflow Management Systems can support creation and deployment of network systems, able to automate data analysis and retrieval processes in biomedical research. Web Services have been implemented at bioinformatics centres and workflow systems have been proposed for biological data analysis.

New databanks are often developed by taking into account these technologies, but many existing databases do not allow a programmatic access. Only a fraction of available databanks can thus be queried through programmatic interfaces. SRS is a well know indexing and search engine for biomedical databanks offering public access to many databanks and analysis tools. Unfortunately, these data are not easily and efficiently accessible through Web Services.

Results

We have developed ‘SRS by WS’ (SWS), a tool that makes information available in SRS sites accessible through Web Services. Information on known sites is maintained in a database, srsdb. SWS consists in a suite of WS that can query both srsdb, for information on sites and databases, and SRS sites. SWS returns results in a text-only format and can be accessed through a WSDL compliant client. SWS enables interoperability between workflow systems and SRS implementations, by also managing access to alternative sites, in order to cope with network and maintenance problems, and selecting the most up-to-date among available systems.

Conclusions

Development and implementation of Web Services, allowing to make a programmatic access to an exhaustive set of biomedical databases can significantly improve automation of in-silico analysis. SWS supports this activity by making biological databanks that are managed in public SRS sites available through a programmatic interface.