Users meetings

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As GO has expanded as a project, we feel the traditional 'users meetings' have become too general, to the point that they may no longer meeting the needs of most users. Here are a couple of reasons:

  1. The definition of user is too broad. The term is used to include the following:
    • Annotators and curators
    • Researchers who use the ontologies and/or annotations to analyze their data (e.g., microarray users)
    • Researchers who use the ontologies and/or annotations to generate data (e.g., text-miners)
    • Software developers who develop tools to allow researchers to analyze their data
    • The general bench biologist who may be interested in one branch of the ontology
  2. The pitch of the current meeting is geared towards those who are already familiar with GO. Those who don't yet know of the benefits of using GO would never turn up to a users meeting.
  3. The format of the meeting may be too formal because it requires a presentation or poster. Researchers are using it as part of some third party tool, and would be unlikely to come to a specific GO meeting with their query.


We want to be able to meet the following goals when attending meetings and interacting with the scientific community:

  1. Identify potential future annotators from emergent genome groups
  2. Educate researchers on how to leverage GO annotations and/or ontologies in facilitating their research
  3. Provide a forum for questions and discussions about any aspect of the GOC in order to get feedback from the community


  • No single annual users meeting
  • Target specific conferences and meetings and present GO in a way that would be relevant to that community. Different consortium members already attend different conferences according to their interests. Here are some ideas:
    • Present a poster that describes in biological terms how to use GO. For example, two SGD curators went to hardcore biology meetings (a FASEB DNA repair and Metabolism meeting and a Fungal and Plant cytoskeleton Gordon conference). Their posters posed three typess of questions phrased so they were relevant to that audience: (1) I identified 15 genes in my genetic screen, how to I find out if they are involved in a common process? (2) How do I find all the genes involved in "chromatin remodeling"? (3) I have a cluster of 100 genes, how do I get a quick idea of what function they share?. These posters highlighted using tools at SGD as well as AmiGO but never presented GO as ontologies.
    • Give a talk highlighting the use of the GO in an area relevant to that community. For example, there is plenty of mitochondrial localization data from high-throughput experiments, traditional small-scale approaches, and computationally predicted data that are captured in GO CC annotations for many organisms. What if there was some analysis done on the overlap of these annotations within an organism and between organisms that could be presented at ASCB.
    • Organize a workshop specifically aimed at explaining usage of GO for that audience. So for example, at a meeting where many researchers use microarray technology, the workshop/talk would be geared around how GO can be used to analyze microarray data. This might be especially useful for an emerging field that is using GO, such as systems biology or interaction network modeling. One possibility is the Interaction Networks meeting this year.
    • In addition to biologists, there could be a workshop about using and developing the GO software in conjunction with a more software oriented meeting (ISMB?)
  • Invest in a GO booth, especially at larger meetings, such as PAG or ASCB or AACR. This could be in conjunction with memebrs of GOC giving talks, posters, and running workshops. But if there was a prominent GO stand, attendees could come by with casual questions or if they were just curious.

Potential Meetings

  • Interactome Networks

August 29 - September 1, 2007
Abstract Deadline: June 6, 2007

  • ASHG

October 23-27, 2007
San Diego, CA
Abstract headline:June 7, 2007

  • ASCB

December 1-5, 2007
Washington, DC
Abstract headline:May 1, 2007

  • MGED11

September 1-5, 2008
Riva del Garda,Trentino, Italy
Contact: Cesare Furlanello ( and Gavin Sherlock (