Data generated from cancer nanotechnology research are so diverse and large in volume that it is difficult to share and efficiently use them without informatics tools. In particular, ontologies that provide a unifying knowledge framework for annotating the data are required to facilitate the semantic integration, knowledge-based searching, unambiguous interpretation, mining and inferencing of the data using informatics methods. In this paper, we discuss the design and development of NanoParticle Ontology (NPO), which is developed within the framework of the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO), and implemented in the Ontology Web Language (OWL) using well-defined ontology design principles. The NPO was developed to represent knowledge underlying the preparation, chemical composition, and characterization of nanomaterials involved in cancer research. Public releases of the NPO are available through BioPortal website, maintained by the National Center for Biomedical Ontology. Mechanisms for editorial and governance processes are being developed for the maintenance, review, and growth of the NPO.
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