Many Beacon instances will be part of networks, although a Beacon can be instantiated as stand-alone solution. The Beacon design includes several features aimed to be consumed by Beacon network aggregators. For example, a Beacon endpoint declares which entities are implemented in that particular instance, which are the ontology terms supported or the URL endpoints where different elements could be found.
Networking heterogeneous beacons¶
In addition to genomic variation queries with Boolean responses the Beacon v2 protocol permits the implementers to support different types of entities (e.g. biosample and analysis data) both to be queried against and to be returned in Beacon responses - so a request may retrieve information about the samples in which an indicated genomic variant had been found or information about technical parameters used to detect such a variant.
However, individual beacons will have different profiles regarding the supported parameters, supported entities or the filtering terms recognized. Here, a number of information endpoints allow the profiling of beacons which is especially important when designing Beacon networks and aggregating their responses.
Filters represent a powerful way to query various features
in beacon entities. When designing a network of multiple beacons the
filtering_terms informational endpoints
can be utilized to e.g. implement translators for harmonizing the possibly differing
terms used in the individual Beacon instances.