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[bioontology-support] Strange handling of ontology identifiers

Camille Laibe camille.laibe at
Thu Jul 22 10:05:20 PDT 2010

Dear BioPortal Support,

I have a question related to the handling of term identifiers in BioPortal.
If I take the example of terms from the Ontology of Physics for Biology 
(OPB), you display the identifiers in the following way: 
"OPB:OPB_00464". However, if I download the OWL file of the ontology, 
the identifiers look like "OPB_00464".
Why did you add "OPB:" in the front of these identifiers?

I know that the OBO foundry ontologies usually have an identifier 
pattern like <acronym>:<digits>, but this is not a rule (they just 
recommend to have identifiers which do not carry any meaning) and it 
seems to me that OPB decided to use a "_" instead of a ":" (which is 
actually a pretty good idea considering the issues with ":" in OWL files).

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Camille Laibe Coordinator
European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge (UK)

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