Biositemaps represent a mechanism for computational biologists and bio-informaticians to openly broadcast and retrieve meta-data about biomedical data, tools and services (i.e., biomedical resources) over the Internet.
All Institutions with an interest in biomedical research can publish a biositemap.rdf file on their Internet site. Each biositemap.rdf file is simply a list of controlled metadata about resources (software tools, databases, material resources) that your organization uses or believes are important to biomedical research. The key enabling technologies are the Information Model (IM) which is the list of metadata fields about each resource (resource_name, description, contact_person, resource_type,...) and the Biomedical Resource Ontology (BRO) which is a controlled terminology for the 'resource_type' and which is used to improve the sensitivity and specificity of web searches.
Biositemaps blend the features of Sitemaps (enabling efficient web-content exploration) and RSS Feeds (a mechanism for wide and effective news dissemination). As a hybrid between Sitemaps and RSS feeds, the Biositemap infrastructure facilitates a decentralized, portable, extensible and computationally tractable generation and consumption of meta-data about existent, revised and new resources for biomedical computation. Web browsers, crawlers and robots can discover, accumulate, process, integrate and deliver Biositemaps content to (human or machine) users in a variety of graphical, tabular, computational formats. Biositemaps content allows such web browsers to pool resource-associated metadata from disparate and diverse sites and present it to the user in an integrated fashion. The Biositemaps protocol will provides clues, information and directives for all Biositemap web harvesters that point to the existence and content of such biomedical resources at different sites.