OLS Client and OLS Dialog: Open source tools to annotate public omics datasets
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The availability of user‐friendly software to annotate biological datasets and experimental details is becoming essential in data management practices, both in local storage systems and in public databases. The Ontology Lookup Service (OLS, http://www.ebi.ac.uk/ols) is a popular centralized service to query, browse and navigate biomedical ontologies and controlled vocabularies. Recently, the OLS framework has been completely redeveloped (version 3.0), including enhancements in the data model, like the added support for Web Ontology Language based ontologies, among many other improvements. However, the new OLS is not backwards compatible and new software tools are needed to enable access to this widely used framework now that the previous version is no longer available. We here present the OLS Client as a free, open‐source Java library to retrieve information from the new version of the OLS. It enables rapid tool creation by providing a robust, pluggable programming interface and common data model to programmatically access the OLS. The library has already been integrated and is routinely used by several bioinformatics resources and related data annotation tools. Secondly, we also introduce an updated version of the OLS Dialog (version 2.0), a Java graphical user interface that can be easily plugged into Java desktop applications to access the OLS. The software and related documentation are freely available at https://github.com/PRIDE-Utilities/ols-client and https://github.com/PRIDE-Toolsuite/ols-dialog.