NIF is an online portal, data sharing platform and customized search engine for neuroscience-related data, tools, literature and web sites. With more than 4,500 curated resources and direct access to more than 100 "federated" databases, it is the largest source of neuroscience information on the web.
The NIF data federation enables users to search multiple databases simultaneously and get immediate access to the results. With its focus on neuroscience-relevant content, NIF can efficiently search web sites that are hidden from more traditional search engines. NIF can perform simple keyword searches and more complex concept-based searches. For example, a search for "ventral lateral geniculate nucleus" will find related terms and synonyms such as "ventral nucleus of lateral geniculate body." The NIF interface allows users to select the synonyms of most interest or turn this feature off.
|Top 25 search terms in NIF from Jan. 15, 2012 to Feb. 15, 2012.|
NIF's concept-based searching is made possible by Neurolex, a wiki system that allows the neuroscience community to define commonly used neuroscience terms and develop NIF's vocabulary. Neuroscientists using terminologies not currently represented in Neurolex are encouraged to contribute.
The broader research community is encouraged to participate in NIF and follow NIF news via Twitter, webinars, the NIF mailing list, and the NIF blog. Resource providers are encouraged to register with NIF, display the “Registered with NIF logo,” and read the NIF blog for best practices to facilitate resource discovery and sharing.