We want to help investigators achieve the promise of Big Data. To do this, we must build a system that uses computers to make life better for biomedical researchers providing and using metadata.
Because CEDAR addresses the entire life cycle of biomedical metadata, the project's goals are extensive, and address many different user persona. Each user will only benefit from some of these goals, but the overall benefit is shared across all users of the system and its metadata.
We aim to develop a framework that will enable researchers providing metadata to:
- Enter and verify metadata as quickly and easily as possible;
- Quickly create their own tools, following standards, to enable their teams to enter and verify metadata;
- Make their metadata entries more consistent and accurate, through easy use of standards, intelligent suggestions, and straightforward access to previous entries;
- Encourage and use well-defined vocabularies and mappings, so that metadata can be completely created and searched;
- Propose or correct metadata via web and programmatic interfaces; and
- Submit their metadata to their own repositories, and to public data repositories such as GEO.
The framework will also enhance the work of researchers using the entered metadata, by making it possible for them to:
- Search metadata across and within fields, regardless of provider;
- Locate the datasets that they need to investigate, using common queries and concepts;
- Compare characteristics of datasets across a large domain, or even multiple related domains, with many sources;
- Understand more thoroughly how a scientist conducted an experiment; and
- Reproduce results, and assess the likelihood they have done so effectively.
With these capabilities, researchers can more quickly discover and integrate multiple datasets on the basis of common elements.
While these goals can be described individually, and in some cases can be implemented independently, CEDAR will achieve its maximum benefit by considering all of them as part of a holistic, end-to-end metadata environment for research science; and implementing solutions that implement the end-to-end framework that results from that analysis.
Considered from the system perspective, we summarize key objectives of the CEDAR program as follows:
- To enable the construction of a metadata template as defined by a community-based standard;
- To enable the authoring and verification of metadata against one or more community standards;
- To enable the authoring of templates and experimental metadata at arbitrary levels of granularity;
- To ease the authoring of template metadata by suggesting previously defined metadata elements and by identifying related metadata elements;
- To ease the authoring of instance metadata by auto-completing, correcting, and suggesting the most appropriate values;
- To enable the search of metadata across and within particular metadata elements and communities;
- To ensure the completeness of search by mapping metadata elements in different models;
- To enable members of the community to propose or correct metadata via web and programmatic interfaces; and
- To enable the submission of metadata to public data repositories such as GEO.