Review of Biocarta

Title: BioCarta - Charting Pathways of Life

URL: http://www.biocarta.com/genes/index.asp

Date Reviewed: May 20, 2002

Description: This website contains maps of many signaling pathways, as well as descriptions of the pathways and e-mail addresses of the people who submitted the pathways.

Strengths: The factors identified on the maps are clickable.  When a factor is clicked on a new window opens that contains links to other databases containing information on the gene.  This is a very comprehensive set of links.  The user can also use a search option to search for a particular pathway or a particular gene.  The site contains mostly human pathways, however some of the pathways are also available for the mouse. There are also detailed legends to explain each pathway.

Weaknesses: There is a button on each pathway page to e-mail a guru.  However, for most pathways there is no guru available.  There are discussion boards for each pathway.  However, for every pathway page you click on, a posting for the AKT page appears.  I believe that the discussion boards are new and not finished yet. A potential weakness is that it appears anyone can submit a pathway.  Therefore, there is a significant risk of errors.  I am uncertain if there is an “editor” who checks the pages for errors.

Comprehensiveness: This database is quite comprehensive and contains a variety of signaling pathways.

Timeliness: It appears that the site is updated regularly.

Ease of Use: The site was very user friendly and easy to navigate.

Responsiveness: All windows opened without delay.

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Overall Evaluation: 4.5

Reviewer: Jessica Passeggio

Email: Jessica.Passeggio@tufts.edu