Background: Large repositories of biomedical research data are most useful to translational researchers if their data can be aggregated for efficient queries and analyses. However, inconsistent or non-existent annotations describing important sample details such as name of tissue or cell line, histopathological type, and subject characteristics like demographics, treatment, and survival are seldom present in data repositories, making it difficult to aggregate data. Results: We created a flexible software tool that allows efficient annotation of samples using a controlled vocabulary, and report on its use for the annotation of over 12,500 samples. Conclusion: While the amount of data is very large and seemingly poorly annotated, a lot of information is still within reach. Consistent tool-based re-annotation enables many new possibilities for large scale interpretation and analyses that would otherwise be impossible.
- Computational Biology/methods
- Databases, Genetic
- Gene Expression Profiling/methods
- Vocabulary, Controlled