The RASHdb is a database of schema of bioinformatics resources; the resources they model; their documentation and relationships between schema of different resources. A database schema or metamodel is a model of the data contained within the database. So, a schema for SWISS-PROT models the data contained within the SWISS-PROT database. The data held within RASHdb are the objects that make up a resource's schema. That is, the entities, attributes, attribute domains or types and the relationships between entities. Thus, the RASHdb schema is a model of database schema or models -- a metamodel or model of models.
The RASHdb schema describes four categories of information:
The RASH Schema schema is the heart of the RASH metamodel -- it describes the content and structure of database schema. In brief, a schema is composed of many schema objects, each of which has a name. A schema contains many kinds of schema objects: A schema contains entities and these have properties; Properties themselves are either attributes or relationships; attributes have a type or domain, including standard types, glossaries and derived values. The relationship property describes the relationship between two entities, which may be unary, binary or nery, it describes the type of relationship (kind of, partitive, associaative, ...). All properties record cardinality and other constraints upon the property.
Many questions may be asked about schema or models of resources in RASHdb. A selection might be: "find me the entities described in SWISS-PROT version 40", "recover the schema objects for SWISS-PROT version 39", "what are the attributes of the species entity in SWISS-PROT?", "is there a relationship between sequence feature and literature citation in SWISS-PROT VERSION 40?", "show me the documentation and portion of original resource that describe the entity sequence in version 40 of SWISS-PROT. Many more questions are possible....
The intention of objects in the RASHdb are recorded with a structured controlled bocabulary. Terms within the vocabulary are contained in a taxonomy of "is a kind of" link. At present, no other relationships between terms are used, but this controlled vocabulary may develop into a full-blown ontology in the future. The terminology is divided into two broad domains: Biological and data intention. The biological intention describes the content of individual objects and their biological purpose. For instance, a databank might have the overall genomic or proteomic purpose, but contain many other kinds of biological information. Data intention captures content and purpose of RASHdb objects from a data perspective -- this can be what the object is used for and the type of data it contains, e.g., units.