BioPortal Release Notes

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BioPortal Release 3.5.1

(Release February 2012)

BioPortal Release 3.5

  • Added ability for logged-in users to filter which ontologies appear in their BioPortal display
  • Updated Annotator page to simplify the selection of options, to clarify the annotation results, and to remove Flash from the implementation
  • Improved Annotator Web service response performance by 5-10x*
  • Added ability for the ontology Web services API to optionally return JSON (rather than XML)*
  • Updated Ontology Recommender algorithm to provide better recommendations*
  • Added display of matched terms for Ontology Recommender*
  • Added Web service to get all namespaces for an ontology*
  • Bug Fixes
    • Display user-friendly names for RxNorm ontology properties

* This item was requested via the User Support mailing list and the NCBO User Group. Thank you for your comments and suggestions!

(Release December )

BioPortal Release 3.4

  • Revised the Term Mappings tab to ease the creation of term-to-term mappings*
  • Limited access to “Private” ontologies via the Browse and Search pages
  • Added backend support to allow multiple administrators for a single ontology*
  • Added ability to copy to the clipboard a permanent link to any BioPortal term*
  • Bug Fixes
    • Resolved issue causing search to not display all matching terms*
    • Fixed Term Mappings tab display for IE 7 & 8*
    • Fixed RDF Ontology Download Web service
    • Fixed link to the list of resources included in the Resource Index*

* This item was requested via the User Support mailing list and the NCBO User Group. Thank you for your comments and suggestions!

(Release October 2011)

BioPortal Release 3.3

New features include updates to the Web interface and Web services:

  • Added Get Properties Web service,
  • Updated Search page to remove Flash
  • Handling of obsolete terms, part 2 – term name is grayed out and <is_obsolete> element is returned in Web service response for obsolete terms from OWL ontologies.
  • Added Help documentation
  • Implemented a feature to allow ontology submitters to flag their ontology as “licensed”. This feature allows the ontology submitter to require users to provide license information before they are allowed to access the ontology.
  • Bug Fix
    • Fixed the Filter by Account on the Mappings tab

(Release date September 2011)

BioPortal Release 3.2

New features include updates to the Web interface and Web services:

  • Added Ontology Recommender feature,
  • Added support for access control for viewing ontologies
  • Added link to subscribe to BioPortal Notes emails
  • Synchronized “Jump To” feature with ontology parsing and display
  • Added documentation on Ontology Groups
  • Annotator Web service – disabled use of “longest only” parameter when also selecting “ontologies to expand” parameter
  • Removed the metric "Number of classes without an author"
  • Handling of obsolete terms, part 1 – term name is grayed out and <is_obsolete> element is returned in Web service response for obsolete terms from OBO and RRF ontologies. This feature will be extended to cover OWL ontologies in a subsequent release.
  • Bug Fix
    • Fixed calculation of “Classes with no definition” metric
    • Added re-direct from old BioPortal URL format to new URL format to provide working links from archived search results

Firefox Extension for NCBO API Key: To make it easier to test Web service calls from your browser, we have released the NCBO API Key Firefox Extension. This extension will automatically add your API Key to NCBO REST URLs any time you visit them in Firefox. The extension is available at Mozilla's Add-On site. To use the extension, follow the installation directions, restart Firefox, and add your API Key into the “Options” dialog menu on the Add-Ons management screen. After that, the extension will automatically append your stored API Key any time you visit

Upcoming software license change: The next release of NCBO software will be under the two-clause BSD license rather than under the currently used three-clause BSD license. This change should not affect anyone’s use of NCBO software and this change is to a less restrictive license. More information about these licenses is available at the site: Please contact with any questions concerning this change.

BioPortal Release 3.1

New features include updates to the Web interface and Web services:

  • Support for loading OWL 2 ontologies
  • Security Framework, part 2 - The apikey parameter is now required for all Web services. Login to BioPortal to get your API Key.
  • Browsing of ontologies that contain large numbers of sibling terms
  • Icons for is_a and part_of are displayed for OBO format ontologies
  • Display of the “occurs_in” relationship used in the Extended version of the Gene Ontology

Bug Fix

  • Added informative error message when incompatible parameter values are used in the Annotator Web service and updated Perl client to capture this error response

(Release date July 8, 2011)

BioPortal Release 3.0

New features include updates to the Web interface and Web services:

  • Web interface updates
  • Browse page now displays ontology features, e.g. size of the ontology, number of notes added to the ontology, number of projects that use the ontology, and number of reviews of the ontology
  • New ontology summary details page highlights the ontology metrics, reviews, projects, and derived views of the ontology
  • Security Framework, part 1 - Added apikey parameter to all Web services. The apikey parameter is optional until June 15, 2011, after this time the apikey parameter will be required for usage of the Web services. Login to BioPortal to get your API key.
  • Provisional Term Web service - New term proposals now receive a provisional term id. Additional Web services are now available for submitting provisional terms. For more details, see:
  • Form auto-complete Widget - Option to include term definition in display
  • Resource Index
    • Data indexed with new ontologies from BioPortal
    • PubMed data now available for abstracts published in 2010

(Release date May 19, 2011)

BioPortal Release 2.6.4

New features include additional Web services and Web interface enhancements:

(Release date February 2011)

BioPortal Release 2.5

New features in this release include the following:

  • Support for structured notes and term requests: Users can now use BioPortal to request that content developers add new terms or update other ontology content. BioPortal provides a structured template for making such requests, allowing users to suggest preferred names, synonyms, and definitions for the requested terms. BioPortal stores the requests as structured notes that are attached to the ontology and that other ontology tools, such as Protégé, will be able to use.
  • Support for email notifications to interested parties whenever a BioPortal user creates new notes for an ontology of interest. (If you would like to subscribe to notifications about a particular ontology, please send email to support at We will have an interactive form to sign-up for notifications shortly.)
  • Prototype Web services to generate RDF representation for terms in ontologies in BioPortal (see documentation [1] for details).
  • Web services for retrieving instance information for OWL ontologies [1]. We are planning to release a user interface for viewing instances shortly.
  • New ontology widgets that developers can embed on their Web sites, including an ontology tree widget that allows Web-site authors to present a display of an ontology or an ontology subtree for any BioPortal ontology in any Web page.
  • Preview release of Bio-Mixer, a mashup tool that provides extremely flexible browsing and exploration of ontologies and their mappings


(Release date June 9, 2010)