October 1, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 17)
Strong Points: Access to vast amounts of information
Weak Points: Incoherent in places
According to the SIB-CleanEx website, “CleanEx is a database which provides access to public gene expression data via unique approved gene symbols and which represents heterogeneous expression data produced by different technologies in a way that facilitates joint analysis and cross-dataset comparisons.” Don’t you hate it when the description of a page doesn’t really tell you much and there isn’t another explanatory page? What I discovered upon poking around is that the site provides access to an enormous set of sequence and expression databases that can be accessed via searching for terms or hierarchical lists. Publications too can be accessed in this way. A query of the CleanEx Expression Datasets for the term “Colon,neoplams” brought up 15 data sets. Each had a button for extraction of data and a link to the original paper. Data extracted was mostly unintelligible, unfortunately, due to lack of formatting or explanation. While there are features of this site that are of benefit, they need better explanations for users to extract useful information.