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Foci Search in Caret6

Goal of Foci Search

What is the goal of foci search? Is the user searching for foci or is the user searching for studies? Both, but foci are paramount in my view

 Should the search return a list of foci or a list of studies?


It appears that the ultimate goal is to find studies and that foci are an intermediate step in the search process. Only in some cases.

Is there a log available showing the search that users are currently performing?

YES: Quick-search (summary) is at Quick-search (details) is at (admin privileges needed) There are also reports on WebCaret and SumsDB download usage (summary and details). I have used these many times in recent years to get a sense of overall usage, and it has been on my mind for a while that we should get a more extensive reporting system in place. Now that Erin is starting to work with Google Analytics, perhaps we can see whether that (or something else) would be useful for extracting summary statistics. Ping, can you look into this?

Search Methods

There are two methods for searching studies, spatial location and functionality. A search query may be either or both of these methods. For instance, a user may search a spatial location (angular gyrus) and a functionality (mathematics).

Spatial Location Search

There are two ways to specify a spatial location, stereotaxic and partitioning scheme.

A stereotaxic spatial search consists of a coordinate and a radius. The stereotaxic coordinate is either entered by the user or from clicking on a surface.

A partitioning scheme spatial search consists of one or more areas selected from a partitioning scheme such as Brodmann or Geography (gyri and sulci). Areas in a partitioning scheme are chosen from list of checkboxes with the name of each area, by clicking on a surface, or by clicking annotations. For the list of areas, it may be useful to list the known functionality of each area and/or provide links to Wikipedia, NeuroLex, NIF, Neuronames, etc.

Sub-cortical structures should also be added to the PALS atlas so that interested users could search for data in those structures.

Functionality Search

Keywords appear to be the attribute for a functionality search. However, the major problem with the study data is that it is "raw" data. For example, viewing the foci keywords page presents keywords that are synonyms (Alzheimer, Alzheimer disease, Alzheimer's disease) or irrelevant (axial, brain, fMRI, human, etc). In addition, with 600+ studies loaded more than 1200 keywords are presented.

What is needed is a "curation" of studies. That is, one examines each study (abstract, title, keywords) and assigns each study a single term that describes the functionality examined in the study. This would result in a small list of functionality terms that could be listed and selected by the user. This list might be similar to the list at the bottom of

Listed below are examples of keywords from studies. A guess at the functionality studied is within parenthesis.

  • PET; autobiographical memory; episodic memory; retrieval; cingulate; limbic system (Memory)
  • extrastriate cortex; face perception; functional MRI; fusiform gyrus; ventral visual pathway; word perception (Perception)
  • sequential finger movements; PET; supplementary motor area; premotor cortex; bimanual coordination (Motor)
  • remapping; spatial perception; arm; eye; spatial memory; spatial updating; parietal cortex; LIP; PRR (Spatial)
  • working memory; prefrontal cortex; cortical deactivation; sleep deprivation; functional imaging; BOLD fMRI (Memory)
  • prefrontal; frontal; inferior; temporal; cortex; lobes; frontopolar; anterior; dorsolateral; ventrolateral; episodic; associative; working; visual; memory; long term; short term; executive; control; fMRI; neuroimaging; event related (Memory)

A search of keywords could be left to an advanced search mode.

Advanced Search

Which attributes (area, authors, citation, class, comment (focus), comment (study), data format, data type, geography, keywords, MESH terms, name, ROI, spatial, species, stereotaxic space, structure, table header, table subheader, title) are truly useful for searching?

The advanced search interface could be similar to the current online foci search interface.

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