[Bioperl-l] Fwd: [Utilities-announce] NCBI Revised E-utility Usage Policy

Chris Fields cjfields at illinois.edu
Wed Mar 24 11:44:21 EDT 2010

On Mar 24, 2010, at 9:51 AM, Peter wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 2:37 PM, Chris Fields <cjfields at illinois.edu> wrote:
>> On Mar 24, 2010, at 9:08 AM, Peter wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> This is probably of interest to all the Bio* projects offering access
>>> to the NCBI Entrez utilities. See forwarded message below.
>>> I *think* the new guidelines basically say that the email & tool parameters are
>>> optional BUT if your IP address ever gets banned for excessive use you then
>>> have to register an email & tool combination.
>>> Regarding the email address, the NCBI say to use the email of the developer
>>> (not the end user). However, they do not distinguish between the developers
>>> of a library (like us), and the developers of an application or script using a
>>> library (who may also be the end user).
>>> Currently we (Biopython) and I think BioPerl ask developers using our libraries
>>> to populate the email address themselves. I *think* this is still the
>>> right action.
>>> Peter
>> Basically, that's the same tactic I'm going with with Bio::DB::EUtilities (and I
>> think with the SOAP-based ones as well).  We're providing a specific set of
>> tools for user to write up their own applications end applications.  I can try
>> contacting them regarding this to get an official response to clarify this
>> somewhat.
> Please give the NCBI an email - you can CC me too if you like.

Sent, have cc'd the open-bio list.  Don't want to cross-post this too much, so I think we should move the discussion there.

>> Re: the tool parameter, we currently set the tool itself to 'BioPerl' as a
>> default, but always leave the email blank and issue a warning if it isn't
>> set.  We could just as easily leave both blank and issue warnings for both.
> We currently leave out the email and set the tool parameter to "Biopython"
> by default but this can be overridden. Currently leaving out the email does
> cause Biopython to give a warning.
> Peter

We follow the same, then (down to the warning).  This is mentioned in my post to them, I'll wait to see what they say.  

My concern is the wording of the new rules.  Each tool and email must be registered with them if an IP is blocked.  Does this mean each tool is assigned one specific email?  And an IP that is blocked can register it to be allowed back into the fold?  With that in mind, should we register each of our toolkits with them?  Probably not a bad thing (it might help us as devs to get an idea of use), but then if one user abuses the rules will their actions affect all toolkit users?  Is this all done on a per-IP basis, per-toolkit basis, etc?  

Unfortunately, at least to me, none of this is made very clear, so I'm hoping there is some clarification from their end.


More information about the Bioperl-l mailing list