Summary: The Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) framework and web services are emerging as useful tools for integrating biomedical text mining tools. This note describes our work, which wraps the National Center for Biomedical Ontology (NCBO) Annotator—an ontology-based annotation service—to make it available as a component in UIMA workflows.
Availability: This wrapper is freely available on the web at http://bionlp-uima.sourceforge.net/ as part of the UIMA tools distribution from the Center for Computational Pharmacology (CCP) at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It has been implemented in Java for support on Mac OS X, Linux and MS Windows.
One challenge in reusing clinical data stored in electronic medical records is that these data are heterogenous. Clinical Natural Language Processing (NLP) plays an important role in transforming information in clinical text to a standard representation that is comparable and interoperable. Information may be processed and shared when a type system specifies the allowable data structures. Therefore, we aim to define a common type system for clinical NLP that enables interoperability between structured and unstructured data generated in different clinical settings.
We describe a common type system for clinical NLP that has an end target of deep semantics based on Clinical Element Models (CEMs), thus interoperating with structured data and accommodating diverse NLP approaches. The type system has been implemented in UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture) and is fully functional in a popular open-source clinical NLP system, cTAKES (clinical Text Analysis and Knowledge Extraction System) versions 2.0 and later.
We have created a type system that targets deep semantics, thereby allowing for NLP systems to encapsulate knowledge from text and share it alongside heterogenous clinical data sources. Rather than surface semantics that are typically the end product of NLP algorithms, CEM-based semantics explicitly build in deep clinical semantics as the point of interoperability with more structured data types.
Natural Language Processing; Standards and interoperability; Clinical information extraction; Clinical Element Models; Common type system
Summary: Text mining from the biomedical literature is of increasing importance, yet it is not easy for the bioinformatics community to create and run text mining workflows due to the lack of accessibility and interoperability of the text mining resources. The U-Compare system provides a wide range of bio text mining resources in a highly interoperable workflow environment where workflows can very easily be created, executed, evaluated and visualized without coding. We have linked U-Compare to Taverna, a generic workflow system, to expose text mining functionality to the bioinformatics community.
Availability: http://u-compare.org/taverna.html, http://u-compare.org
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Information extraction (IE), a natural language processing (NLP) task that automatically extracts structured or semi-structured information from free text, has become popular in the clinical domain for supporting automated systems at point-of-care and enabling secondary use of electronic health records (EHRs) for clinical and translational research. However, a high performance IE system can be very challenging to construct due to the complexity and dynamic nature of human language. In this paper, we report an IE framework for cohort identification using EHRs that is a knowledge-driven framework developed under the Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA). A system to extract specific information can be developed by subject matter experts through expert knowledge engineering of the externalized knowledge resources used in the framework.
Chemistry text mining tools should be interoperable and adaptable regardless of
system-level implementation, installation or even programming issues. We aim to
abstract the functionality of these tools from the underlying implementation via
reconfigurable workflows for automatically identifying chemical names. To
achieve this, we refactored an established named entity recogniser (in the
chemistry domain), OSCAR and studied the impact of each component on the net
performance. We developed two reconfigurable workflows from OSCAR using an
interoperable text mining framework, U-Compare. These workflows can be altered
using the drag-&-drop mechanism of the graphical user
interface of U-Compare. These workflows also provide a platform to study the
relationship between text mining components such as tokenisation and named
entity recognition (using maximum entropy Markov model (MEMM) and pattern
recognition based classifiers). Results indicate that, for chemistry in
particular, eliminating noise generated by tokenisation techniques lead to a
slightly better performance than others, in terms of named entity recognition
(NER) accuracy. Poor tokenisation translates into poorer input to the classifier
components which in turn leads to an increase in Type I or Type II errors, thus,
lowering the overall performance. On the Sciborg corpus, the workflow based
system, which uses a new tokeniser whilst retaining the same MEMM component,
increases the F-score from 82.35% to 84.44%. On the PubMed corpus,
it recorded an F-score of 84.84% as against 84.23% by OSCAR.
Agglomerating results from studies of individual biological components has shown the potential to produce biomedical discovery and the promise of therapeutic development. Such knowledge integration could be tremendously facilitated by automated text mining for relation extraction in biomedical literature. Relation extraction systems cannot be developed without substantial datasets annotated with ground truth for benchmarking and training. The creation of such datasets is hampered by the absence of a resource for launching a distributed annotation effort, as well as by the lack of a standardized annotation schema. We have developed an annotation schema and an annotation tool which can be widely adopted so that the resulting annotated corpora from a multitude of disease studies could be assembled into a unified benchmark dataset. The contribution of this paper is threefold. First, we provide an overview of available benchmark corpora and derive a simple annotation schema for specific binary relation extraction problems such as protein-protein and gene-disease relation extraction. Second, we present BioNotate: an open source annotation resource for the distributed creation of a large corpus. Third, we present and make available the results of a pilot annotation effort of the autism disease network.
Information Extraction; Information Retrieval; Collaborative Annotation; Corpus Annotation; Text Mining; Relation Extraction; Protein-Protein Interaction; Gene-Disease association
A systematic and standard process for capturing information within free-text clinical documents could facilitate opportunities for improving quality and safety of patient care, enhancing decision support, and advancing data warehousing across an enterprise setting. At Partners HealthCare System, the Medical Language Processing (MLP) services project was initiated to establish a component-based architectural model and processes to facilitate putting MLP functionality into production for enterprise consumption, promote sharing of components, and encourage reuse. Key objectives included exploring the use of an open-source framework called the Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) and leveraging existing MLP-related efforts, terminology, and document standards. This paper describes early experiences in defining the infrastructure and standards for extracting, encoding, and structuring clinical observations from a variety of clinical documents to serve enterprise-wide needs.
Curation of biomedical literature is often supported by the automatic analysis of textual content that generally involves a sequence of individual processing components. Text mining (TM) has been used to enhance the process of manual biocuration, but has been focused on specific databases and tasks rather than an environment integrating TM tools into the curation pipeline, catering for a variety of tasks, types of information and applications. Processing components usually come from different sources and often lack interoperability. The well established Unstructured Information Management Architecture is a framework that addresses interoperability by defining common data structures and interfaces. However, most of the efforts are targeted towards software developers and are not suitable for curators, or are otherwise inconvenient to use on a higher level of abstraction. To overcome these issues we introduce Argo, an interoperable, integrative, interactive and collaborative system for text analysis with a convenient graphic user interface to ease the development of processing workflows and boost productivity in labour-intensive manual curation. Robust, scalable text analytics follow a modular approach, adopting component modules for distinct levels of text analysis. The user interface is available entirely through a web browser that saves the user from going through often complicated and platform-dependent installation procedures. Argo comes with a predefined set of processing components commonly used in text analysis, while giving the users the ability to deposit their own components. The system accommodates various areas and levels of user expertise, from TM and computational linguistics to ontology-based curation. One of the key functionalities of Argo is its ability to seamlessly incorporate user-interactive components, such as manual annotation editors, into otherwise completely automatic pipelines. As a use case, we demonstrate the functionality of an in-built manual annotation editor that is well suited for in-text corpus annotation tasks.
SHARPn is a collaboration among 16 academic and industry partners committed to the production and distribution of high-quality software artifacts that support the secondary use of EMR data. Areas of emphasis are data normalization, natural language processing, high-throughput phenotyping, and data quality metrics. Our work avails the industrial scalability afforded by the Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) from IBM Watson Research labs, the same framework which underpins the Watson Jeopardy demonstration. This descriptive paper outlines our present work and achievements, and presages our trajectory for the remainder of the funding period. The project is one of the four Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) projects funded by the Office of the National Coordinator in 2010.
The advancement of the computational biology field hinges on progress in three fundamental directions – the development of new computational algorithms, the availability of informatics resource management infrastructures and the capability of tools to interoperate and synergize. There is an explosion in algorithms and tools for computational biology, which makes it difficult for biologists to find, compare and integrate such resources. We describe a new infrastructure, iTools, for managing the query, traversal and comparison of diverse computational biology resources. Specifically, iTools stores information about three types of resources–data, software tools and web-services. The iTools design, implementation and resource meta - data content reflect the broad research, computational, applied and scientific expertise available at the seven National Centers for Biomedical Computing. iTools provides a system for classification, categorization and integration of different computational biology resources across space-and-time scales, biomedical problems, computational infrastructures and mathematical foundations. A large number of resources are already iTools-accessible to the community and this infrastructure is rapidly growing. iTools includes human and machine interfaces to its resource meta-data repository. Investigators or computer programs may utilize these interfaces to search, compare, expand, revise and mine meta-data descriptions of existent computational biology resources. We propose two ways to browse and display the iTools dynamic collection of resources. The first one is based on an ontology of computational biology resources, and the second one is derived from hyperbolic projections of manifolds or complex structures onto planar discs. iTools is an open source project both in terms of the source code development as well as its meta-data content. iTools employs a decentralized, portable, scalable and lightweight framework for long-term resource management. We demonstrate several applications of iTools as a framework for integrated bioinformatics. iTools and the complete details about its specifications, usage and interfaces are available at the iTools web page http://iTools.ccb.ucla.edu.
The interaction between biological researchers and the bioinformatics tools they use is still hampered by incomplete interoperability between such tools. To ensure interoperability initiatives are effectively deployed, end-user applications need to be aware of, and support, best practices and standards. Here, we report on an initiative in which software developers and genome biologists came together to explore and raise awareness of these issues: BioHackathon 2009.
Developers in attendance came from diverse backgrounds, with experts in Web services, workflow tools, text mining and visualization. Genome biologists provided expertise and exemplar data from the domains of sequence and pathway analysis and glyco-informatics. One goal of the meeting was to evaluate the ability to address real world use cases in these domains using the tools that the developers represented. This resulted in i) a workflow to annotate 100,000 sequences from an invertebrate species; ii) an integrated system for analysis of the transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) enriched based on differential gene expression data obtained from a microarray experiment; iii) a workflow to enumerate putative physical protein interactions among enzymes in a metabolic pathway using protein structure data; iv) a workflow to analyze glyco-gene-related diseases by searching for human homologs of glyco-genes in other species, such as fruit flies, and retrieving their phenotype-annotated SNPs.
Beyond deriving prototype solutions for each use-case, a second major purpose of the BioHackathon was to highlight areas of insufficiency. We discuss the issues raised by our exploration of the problem/solution space, concluding that there are still problems with the way Web services are modeled and annotated, including: i) the absence of several useful data or analysis functions in the Web service "space"; ii) the lack of documentation of methods; iii) lack of compliance with the SOAP/WSDL specification among and between various programming-language libraries; and iv) incompatibility between various bioinformatics data formats. Although it was still difficult to solve real world problems posed to the developers by the biological researchers in attendance because of these problems, we note the promise of addressing these issues within a semantic framework.
The available curated data lag behind current biological knowledge contained in the literature. Text mining can assist biologists and curators to locate and access this knowledge, for instance by characterizing the functional profile of publications. Gene Ontology (GO) category assignment in free text already supports various applications, such as powering ontology-based search engines, finding curation-relevant articles (triage) or helping the curator to identify and encode functions. Popular text mining tools for GO classification are based on so called thesaurus-based—or dictionary-based—approaches, which exploit similarities between the input text and GO terms themselves. But their effectiveness remains limited owing to the complex nature of GO terms, which rarely occur in text. In contrast, machine learning approaches exploit similarities between the input text and already curated instances contained in a knowledge base to infer a functional profile. GO Annotations (GOA) and MEDLINE make possible to exploit a growing amount of curated abstracts (97 000 in November 2012) for populating this knowledge base. Our study compares a state-of-the-art thesaurus-based system with a machine learning system (based on a k-Nearest Neighbours algorithm) for the task of proposing a functional profile for unseen MEDLINE abstracts, and shows how resources and performances have evolved. Systems are evaluated on their ability to propose for a given abstract the GO terms (2.8 on average) used for curation in GOA. We show that since 2006, although a massive effort was put into adding synonyms in GO (+300%), our thesaurus-based system effectiveness is rather constant, reaching from 0.28 to 0.31 for Recall at 20 (R20). In contrast, thanks to its knowledge base growth, our machine learning system has steadily improved, reaching from 0.38 in 2006 to 0.56 for R20 in 2012. Integrated in semi-automatic workflows or in fully automatic pipelines, such systems are more and more efficient to provide assistance to biologists.
Genome sciences have experienced an increasing demand for efficient text-processing tools that can extract biologically relevant information from the growing amount of published literature. In response, a range of text-mining and information-extraction tools have recently been developed specifically for the biological domain. Such tools are only useful if they are designed to meet real-life tasks and if their performance can be estimated and compared. The BioCreative challenge (Critical Assessment of Information Extraction in Biology) consists of a collaborative initiative to provide a common evaluation framework for monitoring and assessing the state-of-the-art of text-mining systems applied to biologically relevant problems.
The Second BioCreative assessment (2006 to 2007) attracted 44 teams from 13 countries worldwide, with the aim of evaluating current information-extraction/text-mining technologies developed for one or more of the three tasks defined for this challenge evaluation. These tasks included the recognition of gene mentions in abstracts (gene mention task); the extraction of a list of unique identifiers for human genes mentioned in abstracts (gene normalization task); and finally the extraction of physical protein-protein interaction annotation-relevant information (protein-protein interaction task). The 'gold standard' data used for evaluating submissions for the third task was provided by the interaction databases MINT (Molecular Interaction Database) and IntAct.
The Second BioCreative assessment almost doubled the number of participants for each individual task when compared with the first BioCreative assessment. An overall improvement in terms of balanced precision and recall was observed for the best submissions for the gene mention (F score 0.87); for the gene normalization task, the best results were comparable (F score 0.81) compared with results obtained for similar tasks posed at the first BioCreative challenge. In case of the protein-protein interaction task, the importance and difficulties of experimentally confirmed annotation extraction from full-text articles were explored, yielding different results depending on the step of the annotation extraction workflow. A common characteristic observed in all three tasks was that the combination of system outputs could yield better results than any single system. Finally, the development of the first text-mining meta-server was promoted within the context of this community challenge.
The amount of web-based resources (databases, tools etc.) in biomedicine has increased, but the integrated usage of those resources is complex due to differences in access protocols and data formats. However, distributed data processing is becoming inevitable in several domains, in particular in biomedicine, where researchers face rapidly increasing data sizes. This big data is difficult to process locally because of the large processing, memory and storage capacity required.
This manuscript describes a framework, called MAPI, which provides a uniform representation of resources available over the Internet, in particular for Web Services. The framework enhances their interoperability and collaborative use by enabling a uniform and remote access. The framework functionality is organized in modules that can be combined and configured in different ways to fulfil concrete development requirements.
The framework has been tested in the biomedical application domain where it has been a base for developing several clients that are able to integrate different web resources. The MAPI binaries and documentation are freely available at http://www.bitlab-es.com/mapi under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 Spain License. The MAPI source code is available by request (GPL v3 license).
Service-oriented architectures; Web-service integration; Software framework
The increasing availability of Electronic Health Record (EHR) data and specifically free-text patient notes presents opportunities for phenotype extraction. Text-mining methods in particular can help disease modeling by mapping named-entities mentions to terminologies and clustering semantically related terms. EHR corpora, however, exhibit specific statistical and linguistic characteristics when compared with corpora in the biomedical literature domain. We focus on copy-and-paste redundancy: clinicians typically copy and paste information from previous notes when documenting a current patient encounter. Thus, within a longitudinal patient record, one expects to observe heavy redundancy. In this paper, we ask three research questions: (i) How can redundancy be quantified in large-scale text corpora? (ii) Conventional wisdom is that larger corpora yield better results in text mining. But how does the observed EHR redundancy affect text mining? Does such redundancy introduce a bias that distorts learned models? Or does the redundancy introduce benefits by highlighting stable and important subsets of the corpus? (iii) How can one mitigate the impact of redundancy on text mining?
We analyze a large-scale EHR corpus and quantify redundancy both in terms of word and semantic concept repetition. We observe redundancy levels of about 30% and non-standard distribution of both words and concepts. We measure the impact of redundancy on two standard text-mining applications: collocation identification and topic modeling. We compare the results of these methods on synthetic data with controlled levels of redundancy and observe significant performance variation. Finally, we compare two mitigation strategies to avoid redundancy-induced bias: (i) a baseline strategy, keeping only the last note for each patient in the corpus; (ii) removing redundant notes with an efficient fingerprinting-based algorithm. aFor text mining, preprocessing the EHR corpus with fingerprinting yields significantly better results.
Before applying text-mining techniques, one must pay careful attention to the structure of the analyzed corpora. While the importance of data cleaning has been known for low-level text characteristics (e.g., encoding and spelling), high-level and difficult-to-quantify corpus characteristics, such as naturally occurring redundancy, can also hurt text mining. Fingerprinting enables text-mining techniques to leverage available data in the EHR corpus, while avoiding the bias introduced by redundancy.
Automated extraction of protein-protein interactions (PPI) is an important and widely studied task in biomedical text mining. We propose a graph kernel based approach for this task. In contrast to earlier approaches to PPI extraction, the introduced all-paths graph kernel has the capability to make use of full, general dependency graphs representing the sentence structure.
We evaluate the proposed method on five publicly available PPI corpora, providing the most comprehensive evaluation done for a machine learning based PPI-extraction system. We additionally perform a detailed evaluation of the effects of training and testing on different resources, providing insight into the challenges involved in applying a system beyond the data it was trained on. Our method is shown to achieve state-of-the-art performance with respect to comparable evaluations, with 56.4 F-score and 84.8 AUC on the AImed corpus.
We show that the graph kernel approach performs on state-of-the-art level in PPI extraction, and note the possible extension to the task of extracting complex interactions. Cross-corpus results provide further insight into how the learning generalizes beyond individual corpora. Further, we identify several pitfalls that can make evaluations of PPI-extraction systems incomparable, or even invalid. These include incorrect cross-validation strategies and problems related to comparing F-score results achieved on different evaluation resources. Recommendations for avoiding these pitfalls are provided.
Text mining tools have gained popularity to process the vast amount of available research articles in the biomedical literature. It is crucial that such tools extract information with a sufficient level of detail to be applicable in real life scenarios. Studies of mining non-causal molecular relations attribute to this goal by formally identifying the relations between genes, promoters, complexes and various other molecular entities found in text. More importantly, these studies help to enhance integration of text mining results with database facts.
We describe, compare and evaluate two frameworks developed for the prediction of non-causal or 'entity' relations (REL) between gene symbols and domain terms. For the corresponding REL challenge of the BioNLP Shared Task of 2011, these systems ranked first (57.7% F-score) and second (41.6% F-score). In this paper, we investigate the performance discrepancy of 16 percentage points by benchmarking on a related and more extensive dataset, analysing the contribution of both the term detection and relation extraction modules. We further construct a hybrid system combining the two frameworks and experiment with intersection and union combinations, achieving respectively high-precision and high-recall results. Finally, we highlight extremely high-performance results (F-score >90%) obtained for the specific subclass of embedded entity relations that are essential for integrating text mining predictions with database facts.
The results from this study will enable us in the near future to annotate semantic relations between molecular entities in the entire scientific literature available through PubMed. The recent release of the EVEX dataset, containing biomolecular event predictions for millions of PubMed articles, is an interesting and exciting opportunity to overlay these entity relations with event predictions on a literature-wide scale.
Text mining for the life sciences aims to aid database curation, knowledge summarization and information retrieval through the automated processing of biomedical texts. To provide comprehensive coverage and enable full integration with existing biomolecular database records, it is crucial that text mining tools scale up to millions of articles and that their analyses can be unambiguously linked to information recorded in resources such as UniProt, KEGG, BioGRID and NCBI databases. In this study, we investigate how fully automated text mining of complex biomolecular events can be augmented with a normalization strategy that identifies biological concepts in text, mapping them to identifiers at varying levels of granularity, ranging from canonicalized symbols to unique gene and proteins and broad gene families. To this end, we have combined two state-of-the-art text mining components, previously evaluated on two community-wide challenges, and have extended and improved upon these methods by exploiting their complementary nature. Using these systems, we perform normalization and event extraction to create a large-scale resource that is publicly available, unique in semantic scope, and covers all 21.9 million PubMed abstracts and 460 thousand PubMed Central open access full-text articles. This dataset contains 40 million biomolecular events involving 76 million gene/protein mentions, linked to 122 thousand distinct genes from 5032 species across the full taxonomic tree. Detailed evaluations and analyses reveal promising results for application of this data in database and pathway curation efforts. The main software components used in this study are released under an open-source license. Further, the resulting dataset is freely accessible through a novel API, providing programmatic and customized access (http://www.evexdb.org/api/v001/). Finally, to allow for large-scale bioinformatic analyses, the entire resource is available for bulk download from http://evexdb.org/download/, under the Creative Commons – Attribution – Share Alike (CC BY-SA) license.
Biomedical corpora annotated with event-level information represent an important resource for domain-specific information extraction (IE) systems. However, bio-event annotation alone cannot cater for all the needs of biologists. Unlike work on relation and event extraction, most of which focusses on specific events and named entities, we aim to build a comprehensive resource, covering all statements of causal association present in discourse. Causality lies at the heart of biomedical knowledge, such as diagnosis, pathology or systems biology, and, thus, automatic causality recognition can greatly reduce the human workload by suggesting possible causal connections and aiding in the curation of pathway models. A biomedical text corpus annotated with such relations is, hence, crucial for developing and evaluating biomedical text mining.
We have defined an annotation scheme for enriching biomedical domain corpora with causality relations. This schema has subsequently been used to annotate 851 causal relations to form BioCause, a collection of 19 open-access full-text biomedical journal articles belonging to the subdomain of infectious diseases. These documents have been pre-annotated with named entity and event information in the context of previous shared tasks. We report an inter-annotator agreement rate of over 60% for triggers and of over 80% for arguments using an exact match constraint. These increase significantly using a relaxed match setting. Moreover, we analyse and describe the causality relations in BioCause from various points of view. This information can then be leveraged for the training of automatic causality detection systems.
Augmenting named entity and event annotations with information about causal discourse relations could benefit the development of more sophisticated IE systems. These will further influence the development of multiple tasks, such as enabling textual inference to detect entailments, discovering new facts and providing new hypotheses for experimental work.
There have been a number of recent efforts (e.g. BioCatalogue, BioMoby) to systematically catalogue bioinformatics tools, services and datasets. These efforts rely on manual curation, making it difficult to cope with the huge influx of various electronic resources that have been provided by the bioinformatics community. We present a text mining approach that utilises the literature to automatically extract descriptions and semantically profile bioinformatics resources to make them available for resource discovery and exploration through semantic networks that contain related resources.
The method identifies the mentions of resources in the literature and assigns a set of co-occurring terminological entities (descriptors) to represent them. We have processed 2,691 full-text bioinformatics articles and extracted profiles of 12,452 resources containing associated descriptors with binary and tf*idf weights. Since such representations are typically sparse (on average 13.77 features per resource), we used lexical kernel metrics to identify semantically related resources via descriptor smoothing. Resources are then clustered or linked into semantic networks, providing the users (bioinformaticians, curators and service/tool crawlers) with a possibility to explore algorithms, tools, services and datasets based on their relatedness. Manual exploration of links between a set of 18 well-known bioinformatics resources suggests that the method was able to identify and group semantically related entities.
The results have shown that the method can reconstruct interesting functional links between resources (e.g. linking data types and algorithms), in particular when tf*idf-like weights are used for profiling. This demonstrates the potential of combining literature mining and simple lexical kernel methods to model relatedness between resource descriptors in particular when there are few features, thus potentially improving the resource description, discovery and exploration process. The resource profiles are available at http://gnode1.mib.man.ac.uk/bioinf/semnets.html
Innovative biomedical librarians and information specialists who want to expand their roles as expert searchers need to know about profound changes in biology and parallel trends in text mining. In recent years, conceptual biology has emerged as a complement to empirical biology. This is partly in response to the availability of massive digital resources such as the network of databases for molecular biologists at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Developments in text mining and hypothesis discovery systems based on the early work of Swanson, a mathematician and information scientist, are coincident with the emergence of conceptual biology. Very little has been written to introduce biomedical digital librarians to these new trends. In this paper, background for data and text mining, as well as for knowledge discovery in databases (KDD) and in text (KDT) is presented, then a brief review of Swanson's ideas, followed by a discussion of recent approaches to hypothesis discovery and testing. 'Testing' in the context of text mining involves partially automated methods for finding evidence in the literature to support hypothetical relationships. Concluding remarks follow regarding (a) the limits of current strategies for evaluation of hypothesis discovery systems and (b) the role of literature-based discovery in concert with empirical research. Report of an informatics-driven literature review for biomarkers of systemic lupus erythematosus is mentioned. Swanson's vision of the hidden value in the literature of science and, by extension, in biomedical digital databases, is still remarkably generative for information scientists, biologists, and physicians.
A vast amount of scientific information is encoded in natural language text, and the quantity of such text has become so great that it is no longer economically feasible to have a human as the first step in the search process. Natural language processing and text mining tools have become essential to facilitate the search for and extraction of information from text. This has led to vigorous research efforts to create useful tools and to create humanly labeled text corpora, which can be used to improve such tools. To encourage combining these efforts into larger, more powerful and more capable systems, a common interchange format to represent, store and exchange the data in a simple manner between different language processing systems and text mining tools is highly desirable. Here we propose a simple extensible mark-up language format to share text documents and annotations. The proposed annotation approach allows a large number of different annotations to be represented including sentences, tokens, parts of speech, named entities such as genes or diseases and relationships between named entities. In addition, we provide simple code to hold this data, read it from and write it back to extensible mark-up language files and perform some sample processing. We also describe completed as well as ongoing work to apply the approach in several directions. Code and data are available at http://bioc.sourceforge.net/.
Nowadays a large amount of health information is available to the public, but medical language is often difficult for lay people to understand. Developing means to make medical information more comprehensible is therefore a real need. In this regard, a useful resource would be a corpus of specialized and lay paraphrases. To this end, we built comparable corpora of specialized and lay texts on which we applied paraphrasing patterns based on anchors of deverbal noun and verb pairs. The results show that the paraphrases were of good quality (71.4% to 94.2% precision) and that this type of paraphrasing was relevant in the context of studying the differences between specialized and lay language. This study also demonstrates that simple paraphrase acquisition methods can also work on texts with a rather small degree of similarity, once similar text segments are detected.
Within the emerging field of text mining and statistical natural language processing (NLP) applied to biomedical articles, a broad variety of techniques have been developed during the past years. Nevertheless, there is still a great ned of comparative assessment of the performance of the proposed methods and the development of common evaluation criteria. This issue was addressed by the Critical Assessment of Text Mining Methods in Molecular Biology (BioCreative) contest. The aim of this contest was to assess the performance of text mining systems applied to biomedical texts including tools which recognize named entities such as genes and proteins, and tools which automatically extract protein annotations.
The "sentence sliding window" approach proposed here was found to efficiently extract text fragments from full text articles containing annotations on proteins, providing the highest number of correctly predicted annotations. Moreover, the number of correct extractions of individual entities (i.e. proteins and GO terms) involved in the relationships used for the annotations was significantly higher than the correct extractions of the complete annotations (protein-function relations).
We explored the use of averaging sentence sliding windows for information extraction, especially in a context where conventional training data is unavailable. The combination of our approach with more refined statistical estimators and machine learning techniques might be a way to improve annotation extraction for future biomedical text mining applications.
While text-mining and distributed annotation systems both aim at capturing knowledge and presenting it in a standardized form, there have been few attempts to investigate potential synergies between these two fields. For instance, distributed annotation would be very well suited for providing topic focussed, expert knowledge enriched text corpora. A key limitation for this approach is the availability of literature annotation systems that can be routinely used by groups of collaborating researchers on a day to day basis, not distracting from the main focus of their work.
For this purpose, we have designed BibGlimpse. Features like drop-to-file, SVM based automated retrieval of PubMed bibliography for PDF reprints, and annotation support make BibGlimpse an efficient, light-weight reprint manager that facilitates distributed literature research for work groups. Building on an established open search engine, full-text search and structured queries are supported, while at the same time making shared collections of annotated reprints accessible to literature classification and text-mining tools.
BibGlimpse offers scientists a tool that enhances their own literature management. Moreover, it may be used to create content enriched, annotated text corpora for research in text-mining.