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miRBase, Wikipedia and community annotation

Many miRBase entry pages have a new “community annotation” section (see, for example, dme-mir-10). This section incorporates information about specific microRNA families and sequences taken directly from the free, online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. In total, over 4500 miRBase entries currently include information from Wikipedia. We show the summary paragraph from the Wikipedia page, the full page, and a link to edit the page in Wikipedia. Any edits will appear in Wikipedia immediately, and in miRBase within 24 hours.

There is already a large amount of information in Wikipedia about specific microRNA sequences and families. We hope that distributing this information in miRBase, and providing links to edit the pages, will encourage miRBase users and microRNA experts to contribute their knowledge in the form of Wikipedia edits and new pages. Textual annotation of microRNAs in miRBase is therefore now firmly in the hands of the microRNA community.

Anyone can edit a Wikipedia page, and editing a page is straightforward. However, Wikipedia has strict policies and guidelines about how to edit and create pages. Adhering to these guidelines makes it much more likely that your contributions will survive. The following help pages on the Wikipedia site provide detailed information about how to keep Wikipedians happy:

The most important thing to remember is that information you add should be substantiated, preferably with literature citations. You’ll see that lots of existing Wikipedia microRNA pages have fairly minimal information. We’re compiling a list of microRNA pages that are in need of some attention, here. Please take a look, and consider adding some information. Pages such as the mir-10 entry, and the mir-2 family page provide excellent models for what makes a great microRNA page.

You can also create new pages at Wikipedia about microRNA sequences and families that have miRBase entries, but don’t currently have Wikipedia entries. Please let us know if you do this, so we can incorporate your annotation into miRBase, and create the appropriate links from miRBase entries to the relevant Wikipedia pages. The most important thing to remember if you’re considering making a new Wikipedia page about a microRNA is that your contribution should be “notable”. A microRNA of completely unknown function is unlikely to be worthy of a Wikipedia page. However, if you’ve just published a paper that describes the evolution of the mir-277646 family, and its function as a core regulator of the cell cycle, then a Wikipedia page is certainly deserved.

Let us know what you think, here or by email to the usual address.

Now go edit!

This effort is building on that of the Rfam database of RNA families, which has paved the way in incorporating RNA information (and biological annotation more generally) into Wikipedia, led by Alex Bateman with all the real work done by Jen Daub, John Tate and Paul Gardner. We are extremely grateful to them for allowing us to steal code and lists of relevant Wikipedia pages.

The following sources provide detailed information about the Rfam/Wikipedia alliance, and its success:

Daub J, Gardner PP, Tate J, Ramsköld D, Manske M, Scott WG, Weinberg Z, Griffiths-Jones S, Bateman A. The RNA WikiProject: community annotation of RNA families. RNA. 2008 14(12):2462-2464.

Logan DW, Sandal M, Gardner PP, Manske M, Bateman A. Ten simple rules for editing Wikipedia. PLoS Comput Biol. 2010 6(9):e1000941.

Bateman A, Logan DW. Time to underpin Wikipedia wisdom. Nature. 2010 468(7325):765.

Posted in community annotation, new features.

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