Structural biology is being transformed by rapid advances in structure determination techniques: the well advertised resolution revolution in Electron Microscopy, the emerging power of serial crystallography and the developments in integrative/hybrid methods enable determination of 3D structures of large macromolecular machines at atomic or near-atomic resolution. If placed in the appropriate biological context, these structures can elucidate a wide range of biological processes at a molecular level.
These advances pose challenges to the traditional archiving paradigm, not only with respect to size and complexity of individual datasets with a range of resolution scales, but also in requiring intelligent linking between multiple data resources.
With over 1.5 million daily downloads and ~400 million web accesses annually, atomic level structure data from the wwPDB is in high demand. An estimated 80% of all users of PDB data are non-experts, and user testing shows that many of them find 3D structure data complex and difficult to understand. To help both expert and non-expert users exploit these data to derive better understanding of biological systems, data at different resolution scales must be archived along with information setting the biological context. Crucially, these data and their biological context must be brought together in an effective visualisation. I will describe various approaches, including static images, interactive web components and other tools that make it easier to understand structure data and its biological context.