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Experiences in Visualizing and Navigating Biomedical Ontologies and Knowledge Bases
The biomedical domain is extensive and complex. From the perspective of information technology, this complexity translates into multiple, heterogeneous databases, offering limited interoperability. The first step towards getting a better understanding of these resources is for users to be able to visualize and navigate them. This paper presents some issues in visualizing and navigating biomedical ontologies and knowledge bases through case studies of two applications developed at the U.S. National Library of Medicine. SemNav1 is a browser developed for visualizing and navigating biomedical concepts from the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS ). GenNav2, developed more recently, allows users to visualize the Gene Ontology (TM) (GO) database graphically and to navigate between concepts in GO, gene products annotated with these concepts, and the literature used as evidence for these annotations.