Innovative Sharing of the Data behind the Atlas

Every data set used by the WormGUIDES will be deposited on the CytoSHOW server system and shared publicly, along with scene-linked annotations that back our modeled representations of nuclei and neurites in the WormGUIDES Atlas.  We believe this plan embodies a uniquely thorough approach to full disclosure of supporting data.  

The C.elegans genome, cell-lineage, and connectome resources have proven remarkably valid in the face of decades of re-examination since their completion.  They have each, however, undergone rare but significant revisions to their initial published forms.  To be valid and remain so, the WormGUIDES Atlas must lay its underlying data open to detailed inspection, critique, and correction.  Our challenge, then, is to link features of the Atlas directly to the data that support them.  Given the sheer size of each of the hundreds of data sets involved, we need to innovate to move beyond the conventional public-ftp-download scheme and instead give the community instant access within each data set to any moment or feature of interest. 

With such a large scope of data space and a large number of features to link to from the Atlas, a novel sort of "bookmarking" is a key part of WormGUIDES's data management plan.  A crucial design element, in both the WormGUIDES Atlas and CytoSHOW, is the ability to save/share URL links that capture a precise moment, position, and angle of view.  A user who clicks such a link sees the viewing program automatically display and annotate that exact same image/time-point from the data set of interest.  Importantly, though, the user still has full access to browse and analyze the entire image data set and all of its tags.  In other words, such scene-links focus a viewer's introduction to the data, but the viewer is never constrained from exploring the data's full extents, if s/he so chooses. 

Our scene-link design scheme also makes annotated active user feedback on WormGUIDES resource content a relatively simple affair.  In addition to the usual verbal channels for critical feedback to WormGUIDES staff, scene-links made by a user can point us right at any feature or datum in dispute.  In fact, we plan for each model and data set to have two public WormGUIDES-generated scene-links.  The first will be the clean-curated version, per our best information and judgment.  The second will automatically collect and share all spatiotemporal annotations posted by users via scene-links submitted to WormGUIDES for public display.  This will be a truly multi-dimensional "comments section" to the Atlas or image data: informative, educational, and – with luck – occasionally provocative of healthy debate between users.  WormGUIDES staff will passively monitor this open-forum/scene-link, to find observations that benefit the polished curated version of the resource.