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The History of NIF

NIF has been cataloging and surveying the neuroscience resource landscape since 2006. NIF is an initiative of the NIH Blueprint Consortium, which brings together 16 NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices that support neuroscience research into a collaborative framework to coordinate their ongoing efforts and to plan new cross-cutting initiatives. Working together, representatives from the partner Institutes, Centers, and Offices identify pervasive challenges in neuroscience and any technological barriers to solving them.

Early in their deliberations Blueprint representatives recognized that a framework for identifying, locating, relating, accessing, integrating, and analyzing information from the neuroscience research enterprise is critical to enhancing cooperative activities in the neurosciences. A Broad Agency Announcement was issued, and in 2005, the Blueprint began support for a new initiative known as the "Neuroscience Information Framework" (NIF).

The first phase of NIF was led by Dr. Dan Gardner at Weill Cornell Medical College. During this phase, the NIF produced a white paper outlining the current state of neuroscience resources. The project also produced a registry of neuroscience-relevant resources, an extensive vocabulary for describing resources and their content, and an initial version of a concept-based query system that could be used to query across diverse types of resources. The current phase of NIF is led by Dr. Maryann Martone at UCSD. This phase is devoted to hardening and maintaining the NIF while continuing to expand its resources and increase its usability and functionality.

NIF offers

  • Discovery Portal: An innovative semantically-enhanced search engine of the largest collection of neuroscience information that allows users to customize and refine their searches via NIF's terminologies.
  • The NIF Registry: a core resource of NIF, is a catalog of electronic resources that have been selected by NIF curators, or contributed by the community, as valuable tools for researchers and students in the field of neuroscience.
  • Date Sharing service: NIF maintains the largest searchable collection of neuroscience data, the largest catalog of biomedical resources, and the largest ontology for neuroscience on the web. NIF's already established and extensive infrastructure makes sharing your data easy.
  • LinkOut Broker: NIF provides links between PubMed articles and your data when you register to the Data Federation through the LinkOut Broker. To enable this feature, your data must include PubMed IDs.
  • Ontology Engineering: Expertise and experience in building and enhancing the main terminologies and ontologies.

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