Information requirements of cancer center researchers focusing on human biological samples and associated data

Sujin Kim, John Gilbertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study was undertaken to characterize the information requirements of cancer researchers who were specifically interested in human biological specimens at a comprehensive cancer center, and to determine if existing information systems could meet those needs. Information required by the cancer center researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI, Pittsburgh, PA) was identified through interviews, query analysis, and analysis of publications. For topical matters, the study found that the most frequent types of questions were the following: clinical (50.18%), prognosis (17.87%), diagnosis/disorder-based (50.72%), and research-oriented (51.9%) queries. In terms of the required data elements, pathology data (17.32%) was the most frequently required, followed by clinical history and outcomes (15.18%). In addition, the study identified the 10 main questions, concerning human biological samples, and the majority of the questions were represented in a fairly discrete set of information spaces that could be well mapped into the conceptual data model created through the study. The results found in this study can be used for an initial data modeling, when creating a biomedical research data warehouse that would support the majority of the transitional research requirements of the UPCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1401
Number of pages19
JournalInformation Processing and Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Cancer information seeking
  • Data requirements
  • Human biorepository information system
  • Query analysis
  • University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Library and Information Sciences


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