Motivation: In the Life Sciences, guidelines, checklists and ontologies describing what metadata is required for the interpretation and reuse of experimental data are emerging. Data producers, however, may have little experience in the use of such standards and require tools to support this form of data annotation.
Results: RightField is an open source application that provides a mechanism for embedding ontology annotation support for Life Science data in Excel spreadsheets. Individual cells, columns or rows can be restricted to particular ranges of allowed classes or instances from chosen ontologies. The RightField-enabled spreadsheet presents selected ontology terms to the users as a simple drop-down list, enabling scientists to consistently annotate their data. The result is 'semantic annotation by stealth', with an annotation process that is less error-prone, more efficient, and more consistent with community standards.
Availability and implementation: RightField is open source under a BSD license and freely available from http://www.rightfield.org.uk