The NEXT Big Thing — Disambiguation

This post was written by Elaine Alligood, MAHSLIN President.

I was asked by a pal to look at a new semantic search site for MEDLINE:  Cognition MEDLINE

It’s one of many semantic search or NLP (natural language programming) sites popping up on the horizon.  The company is Cognition and they’ve been developing their MEDLINE semantic search application for several years.

Semantic search is built on ontologies and relationships between words and that’s where the disambiguation notion kicks in.  Cognition’s Semantic Natural Language Processing ‘understands’ word and phrase meanings in modern computer applications.  The software design determines the senses of ambiguous words and retrieves synonyms and related words often called daughters of words!  Cognition search clusters and ranks output by relevancy while looking for patterns and synonym relationships that improve the recall.
From the Cognition Press Release, “At the most basic level, Cognition software performs pattern matching when single words are used for a query. However, when the query contains a phrase or a question, the linguistic reasoning and other algorithms come into play. For example, there are three concepts in the query “Genetic correlates of alcoholism” which retrieves documents ONLY related to genetic correlates of alcoholism. The high precision in this case comes from relevancy ranking.”

Cognition’s been developing the search technology and dictionary for several years; it now contains over 500,000 words and phrases of English and medicine. They are very interested in feedback so take it for a spin, hit the feedback button, and let them know how you like it!

Next take few minutes to play with:   Quertle , Medie , Hakia , Bing , AskMEDLINE (setup for mobile access and created by the librarians at the NIH Library) and Sensebot .  Just type in a sentence like:  What is the prognosis for amyloidosis hit the send to see how these things work!

Are we about to see the demise of Boolean search?  Yikes!  Report YOUR experience on the MAHSLIN blog!

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