Even though there has been significant progress in the development of interdisciplinary approaches such as experimental and computer scientific tools, the general technological developments in glycomics lag behind those in the proteomic and genomic areas. In particular, despite the current progress in glyco-bioinformatics regarding the computational characterization of carbohydrates, the glycomics community is still lacking a systematic and comprehensive database and analysis software. The database landscape is made up of numerous independent and disconnected databases with partially overlapping core areas. These databases provide neither complete nor compatible data sets on glycan structures. Additionally, since the individual data encoding and analysis software tools do not use a common language for the representation of schematic structures and sequence topologies, data processing and interpretation become extremely challenging.
The underlying aim of this symposium is to bring together glycochemists and biologists with experts in bioinformatics and computer sciences to pave the way for a concerted effort in the area of glyco-bioinformatics. Scientists who "produce" data met those who "use" the data. They discussed aspects such as data mining, structure prediction and docking of carbohydrates, as well as web-based services to combine proteomics and glycomics data for structure-function research and glycosylation analysis. This meeting continued successfully the efforts resulting from the first symposium held in October 2009 to discuss the necessity of a uniform data reporting practice that supports biologists, chemists and all interested in glycosciences to enable the integration of their experimental and analysis data into glyco-bioinformatics platforms.