The C. elegans genome, cell-lineage, and connectome resources have proven remarkably valid in the face of decades of re-examination since their completion. They have each, however, undergone rare but significant revisions to their initial published forms. To be valid and remain so, the WormGUIDES Atlas must lay its underlying data open to detailed inspection, critique, and correction.
A novel sort of “bookmarking” is a key part of WormGUIDES’s data management plan. A crucial design element, in both the WormGUIDES Atlas and CytoSHOW, is the ability to save/share URL links that capture a precise moment, position, and angle of view. A user who clicks such a shared link sees the exact same image/time-point and annotations that the sharer saw. Importantly, though, the new user still has full access to browse and analyze the entire image data set and all of its tags. In other words, such scene-links focus a viewer’s introduction to the data, but the viewer is never constrained from exploring the data’s full extents if s/he so chooses.
Scene-links created by the public will make user feedback to the WormGUIDES resource simple. They can point us right at any feature or datum that should be highlighted or corrected in the Atlas. Imagine multi-dimensional “comments section” to the Atlas or image data: informative, educational, and – with luck – occasionally provocative of healthy debate among users. All presented within the context of the living embryo.