A search domain service is a DSS plugin which allows to query some domain specific search services. For example, a search service on a database of nucleotide acid sequences. Currently only one search service is supported: Searching of local BLAST databases for nucleotide and/or protein sequences.

Configuring a Service

To configure a service a core-plugin of type search-domain-services has to be created. The minimum configuration for plugin.properties reads:

classFully qualified name of a Java class implementing ch.systemsx.cisd.openbis.dss.generic.shared.api.internal.v2.ISearchDomainService
labelThe label. Can be used in user interfaces.

Querying a Service

Search domain services can be accessed via IGeneralInformationService. The method listAvailableSearchDomains returns all available services.

A service can be queried by the method searchOnSearchDomain. Beside of the sessionToken it has the following parameters:

The method returns a list of SearchDomainSearchResult instances which contain the following attributes: A description of the search domain (class SearchDomain), the location (interface ISearchDomainResultLocation), and a score. The result list is sorted by score in descending order. The location has information where the sequence is stored in openBIS and where it matches the search string.

Service Implementations


Description: This implementations requires the BLAST+ tools. The latest versions can be downloaded from here. Note, that this service is only available if the BLAST+ tools have been installed. Only the tools blastn (for nucleotide search) and blastp (for protein search) are used.

In order to build up a local BLAST database the maintenance task BlastDatabaseCreationMaintenanceTask has to be configured.

Because the maintenance task to create the BLAST databases runs often only once per day a change in entity properties or a registration of a  data sets will not immediately be reflected by the search results. That is, new sequences aren't found and changed/deleted sequences are still found.


Property KeyDescription
blast-tools-directoryPath to the directory with BLAST+ command line tools. If defined it will be prepended to the commands blastn and blastp. If undefined it is assumed that the path is in the PATH environment variable.
blast-databases-folderPath to the folder where all BLAST databases are stored. Default: <data store root>/blast-databases


class = ch.systemsx.cisd.openbis.dss.generic.server.api.v2.sequencedatabases.BlastDatabase
label = BLAST database

Optional Query Parameters

The following optional query parameters (i.e. service method parameter optionalParametersOrNull as described above) are understood and used as command line parameters of the BLAST+ tools:

evalueDefines the threshold of so-called "Expect Value" of found matches (for details see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/blast/Blast.cgi?CMD=Web&PAGE_TYPE=BlastDocs&DOC_TYPE=FAQ#expect and http://homepages.ulb.ac.be/~dgonze/TEACHING/stat_scores.pdf). Higher values means more found matches. Default value is 10.
word_sizeWord size for initial match. Decreasing word size results in increasing number of matches. Default values (if task parameter hasn't been specified): 11 for blastn and 3 for blastp.

Defines values for a set of parameters of the tools blastn and blastp. Possible values are

  • blastn: Default value blastn

    ValueDescriptionDefault value of word_size
    blastnTraditional blastn requiring an exact match of 1111
    blastn-shortblastn program optimized for sequences shorter than 50 bases7
    megablast Traditional megablast used to find very similar (e.g., intraspecies or closely related species) sequences28
    dc-megablastDiscontiguous megablast used to find more distant (e.g., interspecies) sequences11
  • blastp: Default value blastp

    ValueDescriptionDefault value of word_size
    blastp Traditional blastp to compare a protein query to a protein database3
    blastp-shortblastp optimized for queries shorter than 30 residues2
ungappedIf specified (with an empty string value) only ungapped matches are returned. Will be ignored for blastp.

For more details about these parameters see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1763/.

Search Results

A search result has either a DataSetFileBlastSearchResultLocation or an EntityPropertyBlastSearchResultLocation instance depending on whether the result has been found in a sequence of a FASTA or FASTQ file of a data set or in a sequence stored as a property of an experiment, a sample or a data set. In any case the following informations can be retrieved for each match:

BLAST output columnAccess in Java



SearchDomainSearchResult.getScore().getScore()Score. See http://homepages.ulb.ac.be/~dgonze/TEACHING/stat_scores.pdf for an explanation of score, bit-score and evalue.



Start of alignment in
found sequence



End of alignment in
found sequence



Start of alignment in
search string.



End of alignment in
search string.



Number of mismatches.



Total number of gap.