Michael D. Jensen, Timothy B. Patrick, Joyce A. Mitchell
The number of applications and databases providing tools to aid in scientific research
and knowledge discovery is rapidly growing, but the lack of communication between such
tools is a barrier to achieving new levels of data integration. Integrating Web resources
often requires syntactic details of their Web pages to be precisely accounted for by the
integrating system (e.g., to be hard-coded into a Perl script that performs the integration).
This approach to integration is labor intensive and expensive, and is fragile since a minor
change in the HTML coding of a given resource may cause the integration to fail. True Web
services, on the other hand, use standard Internet protocols for interoperability with other resources,
and offer the necessary architecture for flexible and expandable integration of diverse scientific tools.
With Web services, new and existing applications can increase their value by true and simple integration with other resources.
The development of Web services in bioinformatics has the potential for enabling scientists with tools to enhance the discovery,
dissemination, and application of scientific knowledge.
This tutorial will guide attendees through the various components of creating Web services, including
protocols like SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI. Also presented will be a view of past and present Web services related
solutions, a discussion of the challenges now being faced, an extended example of creating a Web service, and a
discussion on the importance of ontologies and the semantic Web as they relate to Web services, including the
Ontology Web Language (OWL).
Michael D. Jensen is currently a National Library of Medicine pre-doctoral fellow in the Biomedical
and Health Informatics Research Training Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Medicine.
He is also a PhD candidate in Biochemistry at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He obtained a B.Sc. in
Nutritional Science at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Before pursuing his doctoral program Michael
worked as lead software engineer for a software firm developing Web applications for large and small
corporations for data and e-commerce management. He developed training courses and manuals for use of
a programming platform (based on an XML-like programming language). He also taught weekly training
seminars on the deployment of Web applications using this platform. In 2002 he was named Chief
Technical Officer (CTO) for DataPoint Corporation, an information management corporation.
His research focuses on (1) Alzheimer's disease and oxidative stress and (2) the adoption
and development of Web services in bioinformatics.
Timothy B. Patrick is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Management
and Informatics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Medicine, with an additional
appointment to the doctoral faculty of the School of Information Science and Learning Technology
in the College of Education. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy and MS in Computer Science from the
University of Missouri. He spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow in medical informatics at the University
of Missouri. Dr. Patrick is Associate Director of the Biomedical and Health Informatics Research
Training Program and teaches courses in controlled terminology theory and system integration. His
research focuses on (1) integration of heterogeneous information resources to support scientific
research and (2) crosswalks between ontologies in biomedicine.
Joyce A. Mitchell is a Professor in the Department of Health Management and Informatics at the
University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Medicine, with a joint appointment with the Department of
Child Health (Pediatrics), Division of Medical Genetics. She received her Ph.D. in population genetics
from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in medical
information sciences at the University of Missouri and another two years as a postdoctoral fellow
in medical genetics at the University of California, San Francisco. She is Board Certified by the
American Board of Medical Genetics as a Ph.D. Medical Geneticist. She is an elected Fellow of the
American College of Medical Informatics and an elected Founding Fellow of the American College of
Medical Genetics. Dr. Mitchell has spent most of her professional career in various roles at the
University of Missouri, including the coordinator of bioinformatics for the campus. She has had
multiple publications and grants in the fields of genetics and informatics. One recent project
includes the Genetics Home Reference, a Web site she developed with the NLM concentrating on
the health aspects of the research from the Human Genome Project. Her research focuses on (1)
ontologies and terminologies for bioinformatics, (2) consumer health informatics and genetic issues, and (3)
data mining in bioinformatics and electronic medical records. She teaches a course entitled Fundamentals of
Bioinformatics and is the Director of the Biomedical and Health Informatics Research Training Program.