The Biological sciences produce an enormous research literature every year. Research papers are highly structured documents whose content is not captured using the traditional techniques of information retrieval: keywords and flat text. This is especially true of the Materials & Methods section of experimental papers. A great deal of highly structured information is packed into this section. It involves logical and temporal sequences of operations that combine and operate on materials using various instruments and depending on many parameters. We are designing and implementing databases that will allow this complex knowledge to be represented, stored in object-oriented databases and retrieved. We are developing an application of this technology called the Laboratory Notebook. This application is a software system that will contain personal laboratory information as well as have access to databases of Materials & Methods sections drawn from the literature. 1 Introduction. Biology is a very large and diverse field. The primary output of the enterprise is its published research literature, which consists of about 600,000 papers ever
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