GenBank errors

Irene Anne Eckstrand IAE at CU.NIH.GOV
Tue Oct 22 07:00:39 EST 1991

In this connection, why is it that phrases like
> "three collaborating international database groups" have not been present in
> the messages from any level of the GenBank hierarchy (honest, I'm not just
> trying to perpetuate an "all-american flame war")?  What about the protein
> databases?
>                                 Fote
> =========================================================================
>  Foteos Macrides           Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
>  MACRIDES at WFEB2.BITNET     222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545
> =========================================================================

Fote has raised several points, but I wish to address just this
one.  The international collaborations are critical, and the
GenBank staff, as well as the NIH, take them very seriously.  You
may not be aware that the International Nucleotide Sequence
Database (DDBJ, EMBL, and GenBank) has an international group
of advisors representing European, Japanese, and U.S. users.
These advisors believe strongly that close collaboration is
essential and that it should grow; however, they recognize, as
do we, that there are hurdles (some technical, some political)
to cross.  They have, nontheless, continued to encourage movement
toward a unified database.  A symbol of that movement, by the way,
is the new International Nucleotide Sequence Database logo, which
you will be seeing on GenBank and DDBJ releases.

I also want to say that despite the vitriolic nature of some
postings, I am encouraged that many of you are focusing the
discussion of GenBank (or should I say the International Nucleotide
Sequence Database) in very useful directions.  Input from
the scientific community is essential;  we need to know how
you think we are doing.  Are we meeting your needs?  How could
we improve service?  It is also important for you to keep in mind
that one scientist's need may be another's disaster, depending on
the uses to which the data are put!

Many of the issues raised (errors in the database, need for curation,
responsibilities of authors,...) are continuing threads of
discussion at the GenBank Advisors meetings.  The next advisors
meeting will be November 11-12, and I am sure many of these issues
will come up again.  I should add that although the advisors
recognize the problems that exist, they have been very satisfied
with the progress GenBank staff have made and are encouraged by
the cooperation of the current staff and the NCBI staff (who will
manage GenBank starting in September 1992).

So...I hope to see more discussion about what you want in the
database, how it can serve you better, and how the scientific
community can support it best.

Irene Anne Eckstrand
The Other GenBank Project Officer

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