The HGNC custom downloads script received 506
000 hits between January 1 and June 30, 2005, an average of 2800 per day (excluding queries made by HGNC staff and major web crawlers). Searchgenes was queried 290
000 times in this same period.
Nearly all (99%) of our custom downloads users make use of the WHERE clause functionality, rather than downloading the entire data set. Of them 41% selected a plain-text output and 59% requested the Gene Report output, suggesting that the download script is frequently being used as an application program interface (API) to serve specific subsets of HGNC data to external applications. Consistent with this, the most popular searches were for single records specified by HGNC ID (78%) or approved symbol (18%).
Multiple gene records can be returned using inexact query terms with the keywords ‘LIKE’ or ‘ILIKE’ or with the ‘IN’ keyword to identify records matching a list of queries. Less than 1% of searches used these inexact terms, again suggesting the use of the download script as an API. It seems useful to point out that these inexact queries are valuable for concurrently downloading, viewing or linking to a set of records of interest, such as those belonging to a particular group of genes.