BioMail as an Example of Push Technology in Bioinformatics
Dmitry Mozzherin, SUNY Stony Brook
Push technology makes many data mining jobs much easier. Currently in commerce, information such as the price of airline tickets, auction results, etc. can be constantly monitored and sent to the customer on a regular basis. In scientific research, push technology can free investigators from the mundane task of constantly searching for updated information. For example, new drugs for specific diseases, new homologies for genes, and new information about scientific discoveries could be supplied to researchers on demand. In contrast to regular methods for dissemination of information, push technology uses effective information filtering and sends only data that reflects the interests of the user.
The BioMail project, licensed under GPL, uses push technology to supply its subscribers with information about recently published scientific papers. It uses the PubMed Medline database, maintained by NLM. The code of the program is written in Perl and is compatible with a variety of Linux, Unix and MS Windows operating systems. It is available on Source Forge (http://sourceforge.net/projects/biomail).
Subscribers of the program configure their accounts by adding the search patterns they would use at the PubMed site. BioMail regularly performs the searches, selects the most recent articles, filters out duplicates from previous searches and sends email letters to users in HTML format, text format, or as an HTML attachment. Users can view the abstracts of selected articles and/or use BioMail as a reference manager. They can visit the PubMed site to get additional information, or go directly to the full text of web-accessible papers.