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NLM Honors Winners and Honorable Mentions of the “Show Off Your Apps” Software Development Challenge

In April 2011, The National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the National Institutes of Health, invited people to show off their apps. NLM challenged people to create innovative software applications that use the Library’s vast collection of biomedical data, including downloadable data sets, application programming interfaces (APIs), or software tools – all of which are free and available for public use. The winners and honorable mentions of the Show Off Your Apps Challenge have been announced, including a winner from NN/LM PSR! The winners are:

GLAD4U: GLAD4U (Gene List Automatically Derived For You) is a new, free web-based gene retrieval and prioritization tool, which takes advantage of the NCBI’s Entrez Programming Utilities (E-utilities). Upon the submission of a query, GLAD4U retrieves the corresponding publications with eSearch before using Pubmed ID-Entrez Gene ID mapping tables provided by the NCBI to create a list of genes. A statistics-based prioritization algorithm ranks those genes into a list that is output to the user, usually within less than a minute. The GLAD4U user interface accepts any valid queries for PubMed, and its output page displays the ranked gene list and information associated with each gene, chronologically-ordered supporting publications, along with a summary of the run and links for file exports and for further functional enrichment analyses.

iAnatomy: Learning anatomy interactively with a touchscreen device is dynamic and engaging. Having it as an app, makes the information available anywhere, anytime. iAnatomy is an exciting electronic anatomy atlas for iPhone/iPod touch. The images are interactive and zoomable. If a label is touched, the name of the structure is shown. Images span from the face to the pelvis. The face and neck images and the female pelvis images are reconstructed from data from the National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project. iAnatomy is designed to stand on its own and does not require an ongoing internet connection. Learning is reinforced with multiple quiz modes. Latin medical terminology is also included as an option for international use. iAnatomy was developed by Anouk Stein, M.D., a radiologist and computer programmer in Phoenix.

KNALIJ: The KNALIJ web application addresses the challenges and opportunities posed by ‘big data’ with a new generation of information visualization tools. It offers researchers, students and health consumers alike a technology platform with capabilities to rapidly discover and gain insights from the copious amounts of information being made available from the National Libraries of Medicine (NLM), through its data repositories such as PubMed. KNALIJ recognizes the ‘connections’ linking bio-medical and life sciences research and researchers around the world, and visualizes those linkages. This makes them clear, intuitive, and even playful by providing interactive ‘information communities’ for exploration, analysis, and education.

NLMplus: NLMplus is an innovative semantic search and discovery application developed by WebLib LLC, a small business in Maryland. NLMplus provides enhanced access to the vast collection of health and biomedical information and services made available by the world’s largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Quertle: Quertle is an innovative website for searching and investigating the biomedical literature. Quertle uses advanced linguistic methods to find the most relevant documents instead of traditional keyword searching, which often returns an overwhelming list of uninformative articles. Quertle is geared to active life science professionals – both researchers and health care providers – and saves them considerable time and effort in finding the literature they need. Quertle, available on the web using any browser, simultaneously searches multiple sources of life science literature, including MEDLINE.

The winners will present and demonstrate their applications at an awards ceremony Nov. 2, 2011. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Health and Human Services Chief Technology Officer Todd Park are scheduled to speak at the ceremony to be held, from 9:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. at the National Library of Medicine Lister Hill Center Auditorium, in Building 38A on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md. The event will be videocast live and later archived.

The challenge was answered with some truly innovative entries. To read more about the winners and honorable mentions, please go to the NIH News Release. We would like to thank all entrants for participating in NLM’s first software development challenge!

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