BioPortal provides access to commonly used biomedical ontologies and to tools for working with them. BioPortal allows you to
All information available through the BioPortal Web site is also available through the NCBO Web service REST API. Please see REST API documentation for more information.
Browse our library of Biomedical ontologies and submit your own ontology. This page displays some summary information about each ontology. More detailed summary information is available on the ontology summary page for each ontology. You can reach this page by clicking on the ontology name link.
To find a particular ontology quickly, begin typing the ontology name or abbreviation in the “Filter by Text” field. You can also narrow the list of ontologies shown by selecting a specific “category” (a domain) or a “group” to which the ontology belongs. To submit an ontology press the “Submit New Ontology” button. You must be logged in to BioPortal to submit an ontology. You can subscribe to receive RSS updates when any ontology in the system changes by clicking the subscribe link. You can subscribe to updates for a particular ontology from the summary page for that ontology. To go to the summary page click on the ontology name link.
Some submitters want to control who can browse the terms in their ontology. These ontologies are marked with visibility “Private” or “Licensed”. To browse the terms in these ontologies you must be both
For private ontologies, the ontology submitter directly controls access to the ontology. Please contact the submitter to gain access to a private ontology. Contact information for the ontology is available on the ontology summary page. For licensed ontologies, the submitter indirectly controls access to the ontology. When you attempt to access a licensed ontology, the system will prompt you to enter the license information required by the submitter. When you have entered the required information, the system will allow you to access the ontology. In addition, there are "summary only" ontologies. The terms for these ontologies are not available in BioPortal at all. Please contact the ontology submitter for more information about these ontologies.
To access ontologies programmatically, see our Resources REST API documentation (then look under Media Types).
Enter text and find terms across multiple terminologies that contain this text. The names, ids, synonyms, properties for a term are searched for matches to the entered text, and the best match (only) from each ontology is displayed.
To find a term in any ontology enter the name of the term in the search box and simply hit the Search button. The system looks for matches in the term name, synonyms, term ids, and in property values. You can filter the returned values by ontology or by the type of match by selecting one of the filter links in the output table. If you want to search only in a subset of ontologies you can specify the desired ontologies in the Ontologies box. (Note that it is no faster to search a subset than to search all ontologies.) Simply type the ontology name or acronym to chose the desired ontology. You can also select a set of ontologies from a list of all ontologies using the “select from list” link.
Note that, for performance reasons, only the top 100 matches (that is, matched ontologies) are returned. If one or more ontologies are specified in the Ontologies box, all matches are returned.
To search programmatically see our Search REST API documentation.
Mappings are associations between two or more terms in different ontologies. This association typically, but not always, represents a degree of similarity between the terms. The author of the mapping defines the semantics of a particular mapping. It is also usual for a mapping to be bi-directional, but again, this is not required. The mapping author defines directionality (for details, please see our Mapping Documentation).
To browse mappings for an ontology, select the ontology from the drop-down list. You will then see a table showing all ontologies for which at least one mapping exists between that ontology and the ontology you selected. Select an ontology from this table to browse the mappings between the two ontologies.
To access mappings programmatically, please see our Mappings REST API documentation.
The Recommender takes as input a text or a list of keywords and suggests appropriate ontologies for it.
The ontology ranking algorithm used by the Recommender evaluates the adequacy of each ontology to the input using a combination of four evaluation criteria:
For each of these four criteria, a score is computed. Then, the scores obtained are weighted and aggregated into a final score for the ontology. The default weights used to aggregate the scores can be changed at the advanced options section.
Note that besides the ontologies output, which returns a ranked list of ontologies, the Recommender also has an ontology sets output, which allows to find those ontology sets that improve the coverage provided by individual ontologies.
To retrieve ontology recommendations programmatically, please see our Ontology Recommender REST API documentation.
To generate annotations for text, simply enter text in the box and press the submit button. The system matches words in the text to terms in ontologies by doing an exact string comparison (a “direct” match) between the text and ontology term names, synonyms, and ids.
In addition to the direct matches, the user may expand the set of matches by including matches from mapped terms and from hierarchical expansion. For most ontologies (OWL and UMLS RRF) the system performs the hierarchical expansion on the superclass (“is-a”) relationship. For OBO ontologies the hierarchical expansion also includes the part-of relationship. You use the “number of levels” field to control the number of levels up the hierarchy for which the system will return terms for a given match.
To generate annotations programmatically see the REST API documentation.
Further information about the workings of the Annotator is available at Shah et al BMC Bioinformatics. 2009 Sep 17;10 Suppl 9:S14
The resource index is a pre-calculated set of annotations of selected biomedical resources. We have used the Annotator web service to annotate these resources with all terms in all ontologies in BioPortal. To retrieve records annotated with a specific ontology term, select the term in the search box and press the "Search" button.
To access annotations for resources programmatically, please see our Resource Index REST API documentation.
Further information on ontology-based search and mining of biomedical resources is available in Jonquet et al Web Semant. 2011 Sep 1;9(3):316-324, LePendu et al J Biomed Inform. 2011 Dec;44 Suppl 1:S31-8 and Liu et al J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2012 Apr 11
If you know of a publicly available biomedical resource that you would like to see in the Resource Index please send a request to include it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page shows selected projects which make use of BioPortal technology. To add your project to this list press the "Create New Project" button. You must be logged in to BioPortal to create a new project.
If you haven’t already signed up for an account at the BioPortal website, you’ll need to do that first:
Once you have an account and are logged in, navigate to the Browse page:
… and click the "Submit New Ontology" button.
In the resulting form, you’ll be asked to fill out some metadata about your ontology, e.g., name, acronym, etc. If you do not want the public to see your ontology, you can specify it as private, then indicate what accounts should have access to it.
Once you’ve filled out the form, click the "Create ontology" button. This will create the ontology summary page for your ontology. Note that so far you are only describing the ontology in general terms, not submitting a specific file.
Finally on the summary page, you can click the "Add submission” link. This new submission form is where you’ll be able to specify your ontology file, as well as things like the description of this update, the version number, and so on.
Once you have created the ontology submission, usually right away you can access its basic information and possibly its classes, if there are not too many of them. More detailed indexing takes place asynchronously, often scheduled at night. All of that should be finished by the next day (Pacific Time); if not, send an email to the support list.
To view all mappings for an ontology, chose the ontology from the Browse page and then select "Mappings" from the drop-down list.
To view the notes for a particular term, navigate to the ontology and term (using the "Browse" tab and select the terms item from the dropdown) and then select the "Mappings" tab in the right-hand panel.
To view all notes for an ontology, chose the ontology from the Browse page and then select "Notes" from the drop-down list.
To view the notes for a particular term, navigate to the ontology and term (using the "Browse" tab and select the terms item from the dropdown) and then select the "Notes" tab in the right-hand panel.
Navigate to the ontology summary page by selecting the ontology name from the Browse tab. Create a review by pressing the "Create Review" button near the top of the page.
With the BioPortal user interface, you can visualize ontology concepts and their mappings with other ontologies.
Documentation about how to use the BioPortal REST API to access information is available here:
Use of the BioPortal REST API requires an API key.
Your API key will be listed in plain text on your account page.
Musen MA, Noy NF, Shah NH, Whetzel PL, Chute CG, Story MA, Smith B; NCBO team. The National Center for Biomedical Ontology. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2012 Mar-Apr;19(2):190-5. Epub 2011 Nov 10.
Whetzel PL, Noy NF, Shah NH, Alexander PR, Nyulas C, Tudorache T, Musen MA. BioPortal: enhanced functionality via new Web services from the National Center for Biomedical Ontology to access and use ontologies in software applications. Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jul;39(Web Server issue):W541-5. Epub 2011 Jun 14.
Salvadores M, Horridge M, Alexander PR, Fergerson RW, Musen MA, and Noy NF. Using SPARQL to Query BioPortal Ontologies and Metadata. International Semantic Web Conference. Boston US. LNCS 7650, pp. 180195, 2012.