"During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, Italy was fragmented into dozens of rival city-states controlled by such legendary families
as the Estes, Viscontis and Medicis. Though picturesque, this political fragmentation was ultimately damaging to science and commerce
because of the lack of standardization in everything from weights and measures to the tax code to the currency to the very dialects people spoke...
The old city-states of Italy are an apt metaphor for bioinformatics today.
The field is dominated by rival groups, each promoting its web sites, services and data formats...
The researcher may find herself devoting as much time adjusting to differences in presentation of the data
as she does actually thinking about them",
Nature 417, 119-120 (9 May 2002) | doi:10.1038/417119a