Choosing names for bioinformatics software: it's a snap

Image from flickr user plashingvole

Image from flickr user plashingvole

Compare the following published bioinformatics resources:

  1. SNAP: Semi-HMM-based Nucleic Acid Parser (published 2004)
  2. SNAP: Suite of Nucleotide Analysis Programs (published 2005)
  3. SNAP: SNP Annotation And Proxy search (published 2008)
  4. SNAP: Screening for NonAcceptable Polymorphisms (published 2008)
  5. SNAP: Scalable Nucleotide Alignment Program (published 2011)

Every new bioinformatics tool that decides to reuse an existing name — either wilfully or by ignorance — makes it that little bit harder for people to find one of the other similarly-named-tools that they might be searching for.

h/t to @byuhobbes for bringing some of these duplicates to my attention.