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Archive (2015–2005)

Subword-based Semantic Retrieval of Clinical and Bibliographic Documents

Journal: Methods of Information in Medicine
Subtitle: A journal stressing, for more than 50 years, the methodology and scientific fundamentals of organizing, representing and analyzing data, information and knowledge in biomedicine and health care
ISSN: 0026-1270

Special Topic: eHealth: Combining Health Telematics, Telemedicine, Biomedical Engineering and Bioinformatics to the Edge
Guest Editors: B. Blobel, J. Zvárová

Issue: 2010 (Vol. 49): Issue 2 2010
Pages: 141-147

Subword-based Semantic Retrieval of Clinical and Bibliographic Documents

Special Topic: Comprehensive eHealth

P. Daumke (1, 2), S. Schulz (2), M. L. Müller (3), W. Dzeyk (4), L. Prinzen (5), E. J. Pacheco (6, 7), P. Secco Cancian (6), P. Nohama (6, 7), K. Markó (1, 2)

(1) AVERBIS GmbH, Freiburg, Germany; (2) Freiburg University Hospital, Medical Informatics Group, Freiburg, Germany; (3) Freiburg University Hospital, Department of Dermatology, Freiburg, Germany; (4) German National Library of Medicine, Cologne, Germany; (5) Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh, Germany; (6) Paraná Catholic University, Health Informatics Laboratory, Curitiba, Brazil; (7) Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná, CPGEI, Curitiba, Brazil


Consumer Health Informatics, Electronic health record, cross-language information retrieval, Thesauri, semantic information retrieval, document indexing, bibliographic databases


Objectives: The increasing amount of electronically available documents in bibliographic databases and the clinical documentation requires user-friendly techniques for content retrieval. Methods: A domain-specific approach on semantic text indexing for document retrieval is presented. It is based on a subword thesaurus and maps the content of texts in different European languages to a common interlingual representation, which supports the search across multilingual document collections. Results: Three use cases are presented where the semantic retrieval method has been implemented: a bibliographic database, a department EHR system, and a consumer-oriented Web portal. Conclusions: It could be shown that a semantic indexing and retrieval approach, the performance of which had already been empirically assessed in prior studies, proved useful in different prototypical and routine scenarios and was well accepted by several user groups.

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