Helping Biologists Effectively Build Workflows, without Programming
edited by: Patrick Lambrix, Graham Kemp
Seahawk is a browser for Moby Web services, which are online tools using a shared semantic registry and data formats. To make a wider array of tools available within Seahawk, the Daggoo system helps users adapt forms on existing Web sites to Moby’s specifications. Biologists were interviewed and given workflow design tasks, which revealed the types of tools present in their conceptual analysis workflows, and the types of control flow they understood. These observations were used to enhance Seahawk so that Moby and external Web tools can be browsed to create workflows "by demonstration". A flow-up user study measured how effectively biologists could 1) demonstrate a workflow for a realistic task, 2) understand the automatically generated workflow, and 3) use the workflow in the Taverna workflow editor/enactor. The results show promise that biologists without programming experience can become self-sufficient in analysis automation, using workflow-by-demonstration as a first step.