The Online Registry of Biomedical Informatics Tools (ORBIT) Project


Leonard D'Avolio, PhD
Mass. Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC)
VA Boston Healthcare System or

What is ORBIT?

The significant increase in demand for secondary uses of clinical and biological data has led to an increase in the number of related resources. At present, most awareness of and access to these resources is facilitated by 'word of mouth' or listserv queries.

The Online Registry of Biomedical Informatics Tools (ORBIT) Project, hosted by the National Library of Medicine, is the result of a collaboration of more than 30 researchers, developers, informaticians, etc. across more than a dozen academic and federal research organizations. It was created to provide researchers and developers with a single, simple way to register and find open source software resources. ORBIT was created by and for biomedical informatics researchers, leading to features we hope will be useful for others in the community.


Current functionality includes:
  • Faceted classification or free text searches for contributed resources
  • Facets designed by / for the open source software developer such as license type, available documentation types, etc.
  • A 5 star ranking and comment system
  • Tracking projects of interest through email notification


Lead designer of ORBIT is Leonard D'Avolio, PhD (VA Boston Healthcare System & Harvard). Many kudos and thanks to lead developer Robert Hass (U. Penn CS student & summer intern at VA Boston) and supporting developers Thien Nguyen (VA Boston) & Sergey Goryachev (VA Boston). Significant contributions were made by Dina Demner Fushman (NLM), Wendy Chapman (U. Pitt), Lalitha Viswanath (VA Boston), Elizabeth Chen (U. Vermont), Cheryl Clark (MITRE Corp), and Robert Futrelle (Northeastern).