Review of ExPACy - Proteomics Tools

Title: ExPACy - Proteomics Tools

URL: http://ca.expasy.org/tools/

Date Reviewed: 5/24/04

Description:
An in-depth collection of links to long list of protein databases as well as a large collection of various protein characterization tools and programs.
    - Protein databases include PROSITE, Pfam, PRINTS and others which are protein motif databases.
    - There are search engines designed to take advantage of these protein motif databases such as InterPro Scan and PPSearch. Descriptions are given of which databases each program searches, and how the products are represented. There are several programs that have different graphical depictions of their results.
    - Includes links to several translational tool as well as various forms of BLAST searching
    - Protein structure programs to analyses primary structure and predict secondary and tertiary structures.

Strengths: There is a large variety of programs, which can give you different perspectives on your protein, and there are many characterizing tool from sequence structure, motif analysis, as well as post-translational modifications.

    - The categories tend to be good and it helps when you first get to the site and need to figure out what programs to use

    - Although the brief descriptions next to each database or search engine are short, they do at least give you an idea about the type of activity that is connected to each program/search engine.

    - Not a lot of background material thrown at you on opening pages, you just go to the home page and right there are the important links and descriptions.

Weaknesses: There is no weight given to one program or search engine as opposed to another. There are so many of them listed but the descriptions don't tell you which ones provide clearer, more detailed, or more accurate results.

    - Some of the sites listed for motifs use the same databases to run their searches. ONe or two backups are good, but they might want to limit it a little.

    - Some of the programs could fall under more than one category, but site are only listed once.

    - There does not seem to be a help feature for someone who doesn't understand what link to follow or search engine to use.

Comprehensiveness: Simple, since descriptions are brief. However it is not difficult to understand what each section is for and what each link is connected to.

Timeliness: Good, last update was less than 2 months ago.

Ease of Use: OK - could be better, but I can get around without a problem

Responsiveness: Every link I used was fast, and I didn't get a single out of date link, however since more than 2/3 of the links are for sites that they don't control, the speed will vary from site to site.

Sinilar or Related sites: There are many similar sites for other functions like gene analysis, RNA, biological literature etc ... However this seems to be a unique site that combines most of the proteomic tools available in one location.

Overall Rating: 4 and 1/2 stars It's good but there is still room for improvement

Reviewer: Hillel Sims

Email: hillel.sims@tufts.edu