The focus and direction of WormBase is driven by the user community. Two ways this occurs is through user surveys and the WormBase advisory board. User surveys are commissioned periodically to gauge user concerns and direct future efforts for data curation. The most recent survey was conducted in the fall of 2005 (http://www.wormbase.org/db/misc/2005_survey
). The results were discussed at the WormBase advisory board in November 2005 and summarized in the January 2006 WormBase Newsletter (http://www.wormbase.org/announcements/newsletters/pdf/2006-01.pdf
). One of the concerns of many of the respondents was the speed of WormBase. The Advisory Board felt improving response time should be a major priority, and WormBase responded with the new hardware structure, additional servers and page caching described above.
The WormBase Advisory board meets once a year with the entire WormBase staff to review progress and prioritize projects for the upcoming year. The board consists of several members of the C.elegans research community, as well as people with expertise in bioinformatics and databases.
WormBase also reaches out to the user community by having staff members at all the international, regional and topical C.elegans meetings, as well as other meetings, often presenting talks and posters, but mainly to receive input from users regarding problems as well as new features or datasets they would like to see WormBase host. Some requests are for information for which WormBase simply does not have access, such as large-scale studies before publication. WormBase strives to have data available at the time of publication and encourages authors to contact WormBase about upcoming publications.
The WormBase Wiki site (http://www.wormbase.org/wiki
) provides a mechanism for users to easily add content to WormBase. Individuals can post experimental protocols, make posting about meetings and job openings, or add useful information about their favorite gene(s). A long-term goal is for the Wiki site to assume the role of the print version of the Worm Breeder's Gazette.