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NIF has developed a comprehensive vocabulary for annotating and searching neuroscience resources. The vocabularies are available for download as a ttl (turtle) file in our github repository and also through the NCBO BioPortal.

Please see our Github Ontology Repository for help in understanding the structure of the NIF ontologies and loading them into Protege.

A critical component of the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF) project is a consistent, flexible terminology that can be used to describe and retrieve neuroscience-relevant resources. With the advent of the World Wide Web, an ever-evolving, easy-to-access, shared information systems--the need for a shared semantic framework for neuroscience has become critically important, all the more so if individual researchers and automated search agents are to access and utilize the most up-to-date information. To address this need, NIF has created NIF terminology (https://scicrunch.org/browse/terminology), a comprehensive lexicon of common neuroscience terminology woven into an ontologically consistent, unified representation of the biomedical domains typically used to describe neuroscience data.

NIF terminology is built from our core OWL ontology, NIFSTD, in a modular fashion, with separate modules covering major domains of neuroscience: anatomy, cell, subcellular, molecule, function and dysfunction. NeuroLex also includes detailed concepts for describing experimental techniques and instruments typically employed to carry out neuroscientific studies, as well as concepts for describing digital resources being created throughout the neuroscience community.

NIFSTD can be accessed via SciGraph web services at http://trinity.neuinfo.org:9000/scigraph/docs/.

Following best practices established by the Open Biological Ontology (OBO) community, NIFSTD reuses existing community ontologies that cover the required biomedical domains, building the more specific concepts required to annotate NIF resources as necessary. Each concept is accompanied by a human readable definition to facilitate the application of NIFSTD to data. Each distinct domain module is represented using the Web Ontology Language (OWL) (). NIF is actively looking to expand the content of the NIFSTD and works with neuroscientists and others who have created terminology resources for neuroscience to incorporate them into the NIF. We are developing community tools for comment and extension, such as the NeuroLex Wiki. If you have a terminology that covers a domain not currently represented in NIF, please consider working with the NIF to make your vocabulary available. For questions about NIFSTD or making your vocabulary available to NIF, please contact Maryann Martone. Visit our Github Ontology Repository for the latest developments.

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