Hembase was developed to provide worldwide access to genetic-based studies performed by scientists in the Molecular Biology and Genetics Section, Laboratory of Chemical Biology in NIDDK.
Staff from the Lab of Chemical Biology came to us with their own FileMaker Pro database of scientific data as well as a wish list of existing websites that display complementary data that could further enhance the NIDDK’s data. They were interested in making this data available at a new website where users could search in a variety of ways to display the lab's data and show links directly to detailed data in these other systems.
We worked with lab staff to identify key characteristics that would be useful to search and to come up with a format for displaying all matches with a drill down to more detailed data. We identified the key components necessary to link to the external systems and build the URL on the fly to find the associated data at the external sites.
The original FileMaker Pro database was redone to better separate out key fields and to clean up data validation problems. The interface was done so that lab personnel could maintain the database themselves while ensuring the updated data is immediately available to the website.
To allow for a visual approach to searching, individual chomosome graphics were created and edited to show cytogenetic bands and to highlight the band selected in the drill down.
The site has been very well received by the scientific community. Additional search methods have been added and the database has grown from approximately 400 entries to over 16,000. CIT Web Development Team staff have been credited on the website for their assistance in developing the database.