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BEL Script Overview

BEL Script is a syntax and document format for storing multiple BEL Statements in a single text file and associating statement annotations, namespaces, and provenance with the statements.

BEL Script can be written using any text editor or word processor application that can save documents as simple text files. Each BEL Script is composed of records (rows) in the file which either:

  • specify a BEL Statement using BEL
  • provide a control record, or
  • define a comment.

BEL Script Sections

BEL Scripts are composed of three (3) functional sections:

  • Properties
  • Definitions
  • Statements

BEL Scripts are processed from top to bottom, thus the ordering of sections within the document and of records within each section is important.

Properties Section

The Properties section contains a set of control records that define the provenance for the document. This section includes control records that can identify when the document was created, the organization that created the document, copyright information if needed, and additional information that can be included to identify how the BEL Statements were processed.

The following BEL Document Properties are recognized:


Definitions Section

The Definitions section contains a set of control records that define the Namespaces and Annotation Types used within the document. Namespace control records are used to identify external vocabularies and ontologies that are used to identify entities within BEL Terms. Annotation Type control records define the set of annotations that can be used by BEL Statements within the document.

Statement Section

The Statement section is the last section in the document and contains a set BEL Statements and control records that associate Annotations and comments with the BEL Statements. Each BEL Statement records a biological fact.

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