Project: Research project

Project Details


The purpose of this contract is to develop methods to analyze and
represent information in biomedical texts. This will require
sophisticated natural language processing capabilities, involving
lexical, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic analysis of these texts.
The Natural Language Systems group of the Lister Hill Center for
Biomedical Communications is pursuing this work as an intramural
research project and seeks to collaborate with outside
organizations presently conducting closely related research.

The overall objective of this contract is to establish methods for
testing the hypothesis that access to a bibliographic database,
such as the National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE database,
can be improved by automated analysis of the free test in the
system. The project work will involve modification and extension
of aspects of a natural language parser.

The MEDLINE database has citation records for several million
articles in biomedicine, representing several thousand journals.
Each citation record includes the title, an author prepared
abstract when available, author and journal names, and a set of
Medical Subject Headings under which the article has been
indexed by expert indexers. The free text in the system is found
in the title and abstract fields of the citation records. Titles are
normally complex noun phrases, while abstracts are composed of
well-formed, although highly specialized, English sentences. The
purpose of the work under this contract is to develop methods for
parsing this text. The parsing procedure should result in a set of
well-specified logical forms, representing the meaning of the
phrases and sentences in the citation record.
Effective start/end date1/1/901/1/90


  • U.S. National Library of Medicine


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