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Molecular dynamics simulations can now routinely generate data sets of several hundreds of gigabytes in size. The ability to generate this data has become easier over recent years and the rate of data production is likely to increase rapidly in the near future. One major problem associated with this vast amount of data is how to store it in a way that it can be easily retrieved at a later date. The obvious answer to this problem is a database. However, a key issue in the development and maintenance of such a database is its sustainability, which in turn depends on the ease of the deposition and retrieval process. Encouraging users to care about meta-data is difficult and thus the success of any storage system will ultimately depend on how well used by end-users the system is. In this respect we suggest that even a minimal amount of metadata if stored in a sensible fashion is useful, if only at the level of individual research groups. We discuss here, a simple database system which we call 'Bookshelf', that uses python in conjunction with a mysql database to provide an extremely simple system for curating and keeping track of molecular simulation data. It provides a user-friendly, scriptable solution to the common problem amongst biomolecular simulation laboratories; the storage, logging and subsequent retrieval of large numbers of simulations. Download URL:

Original publication




Journal article


Database (Oxford)

Publication Date





Computational Biology, Database Management Systems, Databases, Protein, Internet, Molecular Dynamics Simulation, User-Computer Interface