MetaBase is a user-contributed list of all the biological databases and software resources available on the internet. For this reason, MetaBase can be considered a 'database of databases', hence the name. The database has been built using the same MediaWiki technology that powers Wikipedia. This powerful software has effectively revolutionized the way we use the internet allowing unprecedented levels of user contribution to community driven projects. The MediaWiki system allows users to participate on many different levels, ranging from resource authors and editors to curators and website designers.
Users may contribute to MetaBase without any restrictions.
In detail, MetaBase aims to fulfill the following list of requirements;
- As a basic requirement, the MetaBase will contain a list of databases, URLs and descriptions of the most commonly used biological databases currently available on the internet.
- The MetaBase should be flexible, allowing many users to contribute, update and maintain the data. The data management software should be flexible, allowing a continuous growth of the range and scope of databases and database information.
- The MetaBase should be 'classifiable'. That is to say that it should not contain just one fixed database classification scheme, but many. Potentially any user could create his or her own classification of databases according to any criteria, and those classifications should be available to everyone.
- The MetaBase should be extensible, allowing, for example, scientific papers to be linked to the databases through a variety of relationships.
- The MetaBase should provide an up-to-date source of biological database information, as well as tools for gathering database usage and quality information from the biological community.
- The MetaBase should facilitate more communication between the database developer and user communities.
- Potentially the MetaBase could be used as a source of 'genuine' meta-data for data integration projects.
- The MetaBase should be published in a suitable open access journal.
This list of requirements should not be considered static. The MetaBase aims to be a flexible, user-driven (user-created) resource for the biological database community. The above aims can be constantly revised to meet new requirements as they arise.