Medical WordNet: A new methodology for the construction and validation of information resources for consumer health

In Proceedings of Coling: The 20th International Conference on Computational Linguistics. Geneva: pp. 371-382 (2004)
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A consumer health information system must be able to comprehend both expert and non-expert medical vocabulary and to map between the two. We describe an ongoing project to create a new lexical database called Medical WordNet (MWN), consisting of medically relevant terms used by and intelligible to non-expert subjects and supplemented by a corpus of natural-language sentences that is designed to provide medically validated contexts for MWN terms. The corpus derives primarily from online health information sources targeted to consumers, and involves two sub-corpora, called Medical FactNet (MFN) and Medical BeliefNet (MBN), respectively. The former consists of statements accredited as true on the basis of a rigorous process of validation, the latter of statements which non-experts believe to be true. We summarize the MWN / MFN / MBN project, and describe some of its applications.

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Barry Smith
State University of New York, Buffalo


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