Visualising ontologies and locating terms in a query interface

PLATO plugin

Ontologies can play a fundamental role in the organisation, retrieval, and integration of data. They feature prominently within the biomedical sciences. Visualising ontologies and locating terms for example within a query interface is a common problem that benefits from being solved in a general way. The PLATO (Plugin for Autocomplete on Ontologies) is an embeddable JavaScript widget for browsing and searching ontologies. This widget was developed to be generically configurable for use with multiple ontologies. It is used in three different ontologies: the Cellular Microscopy Phenotype Ontology (CMPO), the Experimental Factor Ontology (EFO), and EDAM (Embrace Data and Methods), each of which are being actively used within BioMedBridges.

PLATO’s features include the ability to visualise matching ontology terms in their rightful place in the tree, and to expand and collapse nodes as desired. To maximise its reuse, the widget conforms to BioJS specification and has been committed to the BioJS project.

Further information