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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.