Standard Nomenclature in Databases

POSTMAST at gunbrf.bitnet POSTMAST at gunbrf.bitnet
Thu Feb 7 11:37:00 EST 1991

Dear Database Users and Producers,

I am writing this on behalf of the Nomenclature and Standardization Working
Group of the CODATA Task Group on Biological Macromolecules to producers of
public databases, users of these data, and those who extract some of these data
into derived databases for a particular type of research use.  We would
appreciate your answers to these questions from your knowledge of any databases
that you produce or use.  These questions refer to "standards," by which I mean
lists or rules of nomenclature or representation that have been assembled or
developed by some person or group and that are (or could be) available to
others to use.

        1. What standards of nomenclature are in use (e.g., for organism names,
gene names, journal abbreviations, etc.) in the current databases?  Who sets and
maintains the standard? How is it made available to potential users?  Do these
standards have any particular advantages or disadvantages?

        2. What other standards covering the same material are available, from
whom, and in what form?  Who uses them? What would be the advantages and
disadvantages of these?

        3. What rules regarding representation of non-ASCII characters (e.g.,
Greek letters, umlauts, subscripts, italics, etc.) are currently in use? What
are the advantages and disadvantages?

        4. What other character representation standards are available?  Who
uses them?  What are their advantages and disadvantages?

        5. In your opinion, what would be the MOST usefull steps that the major
macromolecular databases could take towards standardization of nomenclature and

Please reply by e-mail. You may also send supporting materials by mail. I will
summarize the replies for a report to the Task Group at its annual meeting in

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of these questions.

Winona C. Barker
FAX: 202-687-1662

National Biomedical Research Foundation
3900 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC 20007

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