The Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse: Year 4 Update
David Kennedy (Univ. of Massachusetts Medical Center), Christian Haselgrove (Univ. of Massachusetts Medical Center), Nina Preuss (TCG, Inc), Maryann Martone (University of California at San Diego), Jeff Grethe (University of California at San Diego,)
We report on the updates to the Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse (NITRC). Initiated in October 2006 through the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (1), NITRC’s mission is to create a user-friendly knowledge environment for the neuroimaging community. Through the identification of existing tools and resources valuable to this community, NITRC’s goal is to enhance, adopt, distribute, and contribute to the evolution of neuroimaging tools and resources.
Located on the web at www.nitrc.org, this site promotes tools and resources, vocabularies, and databases, thereby extending the impact of previously funded, neuroimaging informatics contributions to a broader community. It is anticipated that this will give neuroimaging researchers greater and more efficient access to the tools and resources they need, better categorize and organize existing tools and resources, facilitate interactions between researchers and developers, promote better use through enhanced documentation and tutorials—all while keeping the set of resources up-to-date with the most recent resource upgrades and updates.
To meet the disparate needs of resource developers and users, NITRC requires functionality like that found in platforms such as Source Forge, Bugzilla, CVS, Wiki, etc. To unify such functionality, we have chosen to design the knowledge environment using the open-source GForge project. Within the NITRC environment a ‘project’ is created for each tool or resource that is to be represented. Each project will have independent descriptive content (as projects do currently at IATR, (2)), as well as Wiki, CVS, bug tracking, news forums, and discussion lists associated with it. Descriptions can be housed on the NITRC servers themselves, passed through to an external, preexisting site for content
The site was formally launched to the public on Oct. 1, 2007. There are currently 377 hosted projects, and 2849 registered users, and these numbers are increasing daily. NITRC encourages feedback, through surveys of its users to make the site as accessible as possible. It supports interoperability with the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF), the INCF Software Center, and exposes all content using the biositemaps rdf to support outside access and mining. Efforts to promote sustainability of the resource are currently being explored.
Summary: NITRC, a neuroimaging knowledge environment, is now online. We encourage the neuroimaging community to try it out and provide feedback on its design, tools, resources, and content. The NITRC interface provides a coherent and synergistic environment for the advancement of neuroimaging-based neuroscience research (3).
Acknowledgement: This work is supported by Contract No.: N02-EB-6-4281 under the auspices of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research.
2. Kennedy & Haselgrove, Neuroinformatics, 2006; 4(3):263-70.
3. Luo XZ, Kennedy DN, Cohen Z., Neuroinformatics. 2009;7(1):55-6.