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Data-Centric BiologyA Philosophical Study$
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Sabina Leonelli

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226416335

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226416502.001.0001

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Making Data Travel: Technology and Expertise

Making Data Travel: Technology and Expertise

(p.13) 1 Making Data Travel: Technology and Expertise
Data-Centric Biology

Sabina Leonelli

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 1 analyses the development of sophisticated technologies to disseminate data over the last three decades of experimental biology research. I focus in particular on the online databases used to collect and analyse the wide variety of data acquired on key model organisms, such as the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster, the thale-cress Arabidopsis thaliana and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. I discuss the history and features of these databases as a prime example of technology set up to organise and interpret such data; and the wealth and diversity of expertise, resources and conceptual scaffolding that such databases draw upon in order to function. I conclude with a discussion of the idea of data journeys, which I use to capture the labor-intensive, uneven and unpredictable nature of data travel through biological databases.

Keywords:   databases, data journeys, model organism research, data flows, experimental biology

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