Hooking up Biologists; November 2000; Scientific American Magazine; by Carol Ezzell; 1 Page(s)
Imagine that your co-worker in the next cubicle has some information you need for a report that's due soon. She e-mails it to you, but the data are from a spreadsheet program, and all you have is a word processor, so there's no possibility of your cutting and pasting it into your document. Instead you have to print it out and type it in all over again.
That's roughly the situation facing biologists these days. Although databases of biological information abound-especially in this post-genome-sequencing era-many researchers are like sailors thirsting to death surrounded by an ocean: what they need is all around them, but it's not in a form they can readily use.