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BioSWR is a Semantic Web service Registry oriented at the Life Sciences domain.

BioSWR provides standard Resource Description Framework (RDF) based Web services descriptions, along with traditional WSDL-based ones. The registry provides Web-based interface for Web services registration, querying and annotation and is also accessible programmatically via Representational State Transfer (REST) API or using a SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines Web services as a software systems identified by a URI, whose public interfaces and bindings are defined and described using XML. Their definitions can be discovered by other software systems. These systems may then interact with Web services in a manner prescribed by their definitions, using XML based messages conveyed by Internet protocols.

Web services are usually defined using Web Services Description Language (WSDL 1.1) that became a de-facto standard for Web services description. WSDL 2.0 still lacks support from major industry players, although many open source projects are slowly adopting it (Apache Woden, Apache Axis2, EasyWSDL). BioSWR uses its own WSDL 2.0 parser - tinyWSDL.

A large number of Web services developed by life science community requires a way to discover them matching some criteria. Although Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) OASIS standard became quite popular in the industry, its complicity and poor semantic support was a major barrier in its adoption in bioinformatics. Instead, various Web services repositories or registries have been introduced to the community. The registries are usually oriented to a concrete type of supported services (BioMoby Central) or quite generic providing WSDL descriptions storage and annotation (BioCatalogue).

The distinguishing feature of BioSWR is a representation of Web services in Web Ontology Language (OWL) according Web Services Description Language (WSDL) Version 2.0: RDF Mapping specification. Given that most of Web services development tools works with WSDL, both formats are supported simultaneously. Widely accepted WSDL 1.1 version of Web services definitions are transformed into WSDL 2.0 descriptions at a moment of submission. Nevertheless original WSDL 1.1 services still may be recovered with their semantic annotations stored in OWL/RDF format in a way of Semantic Annotations for WSDL and XML Schema (SAWSDL) model references.

BioSWR also implements SPARQL querying over complete set of registered services.

BioSWR provides integration with EMBRACE Data and Methods (EDAM) ontology, using it as a source of semantic annotations for registered Web services.

Another feature is a support of legacy BioMOBY web services. BioSWR expresses BioMOBY services in a form of semantically annotated WSDL 2.0 descriptions. In accordance with MOBY-S, embedded semantics is based on myGrid ontology (PMCID: PMC1104155).

The source code for the project can be found on SourceForge:

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