Three Correspondence letters in this week’s Nature (447, 142; 2007) all concern information on the web, in rather different ways.
Mark Gerstein and colleagues raise the oft-discussed question of structured abstracts in journal articles: that is, an abstract that contains bold headings to introduce the text. The difference here, though, is that the structured abstract is for digital publication, and would use a web standard such as XML or OWL, to allow automated literature mining.
In another letter, Douglas Crawford highlights the Human RefSeq database as a standard for genes that have more than one name: a common occurrence. Associations between genes can only be made accurately when the gene and all its synonyms can be correctly identified. If genes in a publication were identified via RefSeq, genomic analysis would be more likely to identify genes of common interest
Finally for this week, Quentin Wheeler and Frank Krell comment on a Commentary in Nature’s Linnaeus special issue. They say that mandatory online registration of taxonomic names should accompany any new species description, to ensure true accessibility and knowledge.