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1.  Multi-dimensional classification of biomedical text: Toward automated, practical provision of high-utility text to diverse users 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(18):2086-2093.
Motivation: Much current research in biomedical text mining is concerned with serving biologists by extracting certain information from scientific text. We note that there is no ‘average biologist’ client; different users have distinct needs. For instance, as noted in past evaluation efforts (BioCreative, TREC, KDD) database curators are often interested in sentences showing experimental evidence and methods. Conversely, lab scientists searching for known information about a protein may seek facts, typically stated with high confidence. Text-mining systems can target specific end-users and become more effective, if the system can first identify text regions rich in the type of scientific content that is of interest to the user, retrieve documents that have many such regions, and focus on fact extraction from these regions. Here, we study the ability to characterize and classify such text automatically. We have recently introduced a multi-dimensional categorization and annotation scheme, developed to be applicable to a wide variety of biomedical documents and scientific statements, while intended to support specific biomedical retrieval and extraction tasks.
Results: The annotation scheme was applied to a large corpus in a controlled effort by eight independent annotators, where three individual annotators independently tagged each sentence. We then trained and tested machine learning classifiers to automatically categorize sentence fragments based on the annotation. We discuss here the issues involved in this task, and present an overview of the results. The latter strongly suggest that automatic annotation along most of the dimensions is highly feasible, and that this new framework for scientific sentence categorization is applicable in practice.
PMCID: PMC2530883  PMID: 18718948
2.  Text-mining and information-retrieval services for molecular biology 
Genome Biology  2005;6(7):224.
A range of text-mining applications have been developed recently that will improve access to knowledge for biologists and database annotators.
Text-mining in molecular biology - defined as the automatic extraction of information about genes, proteins and their functional relationships from text documents - has emerged as a hybrid discipline on the edges of the fields of information science, bioinformatics and computational linguistics. A range of text-mining applications have been developed recently that will improve access to knowledge for biologists and database annotators.
PMCID: PMC1175978  PMID: 15998455
3.  Mining connections between chemicals, proteins, and diseases extracted from Medline annotations 
Journal of biomedical informatics  2010;43(4):510-519.
The biomedical literature is an important source of information about the biological activity and effects of chemicals. We present an application that extracts terms indicating biological activity of chemicals from Medline records, associates them with chemical name and stores the terms in a repository called ChemoText. We describe the construction of ChemoText and then demonstrate its utility in drug research by employing Swanson’s ABC discovery paradigm. We reproduce Swanson’s discovery of a connection between magnesium and migraine in a novel approach that uses only proteins as the intermediate B terms. We validate our methods by using a cutoff date and evaluate them by calculating precision and recall. In addition to magnesium, we have identified valproic acid and nitric oxide as chemicals which developed links to migraine. We hypothesize, based on protein annotations, that zinc and retinoic acid may play a role in migraine. The ChemoText repository has promise as a data source for drug discovery.
PMCID: PMC2902698  PMID: 20348023
Literature-based discovery; Drug discovery; Text mining
4.  Putting Data Integration into Practice: Using Biomedical Terminologies to Add Structure to Existing Data Sources 
A major purpose of biomedical terminologies is to provide uniform concept representation, allowing for improved methods of analysis of biomedical information. While this goal is being realized in bioinformatics, with the emergence of the Gene Ontologya as a standard, there is still no real standard for the representation of clinical concepts. As discoveries in biology and clinical medicine move from parallel to intersecting paths, standardized representation will become more important. A large portion of significant data, however, is mainly represented as free text, upon which conducting computer-based inferencing is nearly impossible. In order to test our hypothesis that existing biomedical terminologies, specifically the UMLS Metathesaurus® and SNOMED CT®, could be used as templates to implement semantic and logical relationships over free text data that is important both clinically and biologically, we chose to analyze OMIMTM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man). After finding OMIM entries’ conceptual equivalents in each respective terminology, we extracted the semantic relationships that were present and evaluated a subset of them for semantic, logical, and biological legitimacy. Our study reveals the possibility of putting the knowledge present in biomedical terminologies to its intended use, with potentially clinically significant consequences.
PMCID: PMC1480054  PMID: 14728147
5.  GeneLibrarian: an effective gene-information summarization and visualization system 
BMC Bioinformatics  2006;7:392.
Abundant information about gene products is stored in online searchable databases such as annotation or literature. To efficiently obtain and digest such information, there is a pressing need for automated information-summarization and functional-similarity clustering of genes.
We have developed a novel method for semantic measurement of annotation and integrated it with a biomedical literature summarization system to establish a platform, GeneLibrarian, to provide users well-organized information about any specific group of genes (e.g. one cluster of genes from a microarray chip) they might be interested in. The GeneLibrarian generates a summarized viewgraph of candidate genes for a user based on his/her preference and delivers the desired background information effectively to the user. The summarization technique involves optimizing the text mining algorithm and Gene Ontology-based clustering method to enable the discovery of gene relations.
GeneLibrarian is a Java-based web application that automates the process of retrieving critical information from the literature and expanding the number of potential genes for further analysis. This study concentrates on providing well organized information to users and we believe that will be useful in their researches. GeneLibrarian is available on
PMCID: PMC1564044  PMID: 16939640
6.  Constructing a semantic predication gold standard from the biomedical literature 
BMC Bioinformatics  2011;12:486.
Semantic relations increasingly underpin biomedical text mining and knowledge discovery applications. The success of such practical applications crucially depends on the quality of extracted relations, which can be assessed against a gold standard reference. Most such references in biomedical text mining focus on narrow subdomains and adopt different semantic representations, rendering them difficult to use for benchmarking independently developed relation extraction systems. In this article, we present a multi-phase gold standard annotation study, in which we annotated 500 sentences randomly selected from MEDLINE abstracts on a wide range of biomedical topics with 1371 semantic predications. The UMLS Metathesaurus served as the main source for conceptual information and the UMLS Semantic Network for relational information. We measured interannotator agreement and analyzed the annotations closely to identify some of the challenges in annotating biomedical text with relations based on an ontology or a terminology.
We obtain fair to moderate interannotator agreement in the practice phase (0.378-0.475). With improved guidelines and additional semantic equivalence criteria, the agreement increases by 12% (0.415 to 0.536) in the main annotation phase. In addition, we find that agreement increases to 0.688 when the agreement calculation is limited to those predications that are based only on the explicitly provided UMLS concepts and relations.
While interannotator agreement in the practice phase confirms that conceptual annotation is a challenging task, the increasing agreement in the main annotation phase points out that an acceptable level of agreement can be achieved in multiple iterations, by setting stricter guidelines and establishing semantic equivalence criteria. Mapping text to ontological concepts emerges as the main challenge in conceptual annotation. Annotating predications involving biomolecular entities and processes is particularly challenging. While the resulting gold standard is mainly intended to serve as a test collection for our semantic interpreter, we believe that the lessons learned are applicable generally.
PMCID: PMC3281188  PMID: 22185221
7.  An overview of the BioCreative 2012 Workshop Track III: interactive text mining task 
In many databases, biocuration primarily involves literature curation, which usually involves retrieving relevant articles, extracting information that will translate into annotations and identifying new incoming literature. As the volume of biological literature increases, the use of text mining to assist in biocuration becomes increasingly relevant. A number of groups have developed tools for text mining from a computer science/linguistics perspective, and there are many initiatives to curate some aspect of biology from the literature. Some biocuration efforts already make use of a text mining tool, but there have not been many broad-based systematic efforts to study which aspects of a text mining tool contribute to its usefulness for a curation task. Here, we report on an effort to bring together text mining tool developers and database biocurators to test the utility and usability of tools. Six text mining systems presenting diverse biocuration tasks participated in a formal evaluation, and appropriate biocurators were recruited for testing. The performance results from this evaluation indicate that some of the systems were able to improve efficiency of curation by speeding up the curation task significantly (∼1.7- to 2.5-fold) over manual curation. In addition, some of the systems were able to improve annotation accuracy when compared with the performance on the manually curated set. In terms of inter-annotator agreement, the factors that contributed to significant differences for some of the systems included the expertise of the biocurator on the given curation task, the inherent difficulty of the curation and attention to annotation guidelines. After the task, annotators were asked to complete a survey to help identify strengths and weaknesses of the various systems. The analysis of this survey highlights how important task completion is to the biocurators’ overall experience of a system, regardless of the system’s high score on design, learnability and usability. In addition, strategies to refine the annotation guidelines and systems documentation, to adapt the tools to the needs and query types the end user might have and to evaluate performance in terms of efficiency, user interface, result export and traditional evaluation metrics have been analyzed during this task. This analysis will help to plan for a more intense study in BioCreative IV.
PMCID: PMC3625048  PMID: 23327936
8.  The landscape for epigenetic/epigenomic biomedical resources 
Epigenetics  2012;7(9):982-986.
Recent advances in molecular biology and computational power have seen the biomedical sector enter a new era, with corresponding development of Bioinformatics as a major discipline. Generation of enormous amounts of data has driven the need for more advanced storage solutions and shared access through a range of public repositories. The number of such biomedical resources is increasing constantly and mining these large and diverse data sets continues to present real challenges. This paper attempts a general overview of currently available resources, together with remarks on their data mining and analysis capabilities. Of interest here is the recent shift in focus from genetic to epigenetic/epigenomic research and the emergence and extension of resource provision to support this both at local and global scale. Biomedical text and numerical data mining are both considered, the first dealing with automated methods for analyzing research content and information extraction, and the second (broadly) with pattern recognition and prediction. Any summary and selection of resources is inherently limited, given the spectrum available, but the aim is to provide a guideline for the assessment and comparison of currently available provision, particularly as this relates to epigenetics/epigenomics.
PMCID: PMC3515018  PMID: 22874136
biomedical resource; data mining; epigenetics; epigenomics; methylation; primary database; secondary database
9.  Evaluation of BioCreAtIvE assessment of task 2 
BMC Bioinformatics  2005;6(Suppl 1):S16.
Molecular Biology accumulated substantial amounts of data concerning functions of genes and proteins. Information relating to functional descriptions is generally extracted manually from textual data and stored in biological databases to build up annotations for large collections of gene products. Those annotation databases are crucial for the interpretation of large scale analysis approaches using bioinformatics or experimental techniques. Due to the growing accumulation of functional descriptions in biomedical literature the need for text mining tools to facilitate the extraction of such annotations is urgent. In order to make text mining tools useable in real world scenarios, for instance to assist database curators during annotation of protein function, comparisons and evaluations of different approaches on full text articles are needed.
The Critical Assessment for Information Extraction in Biology (BioCreAtIvE) contest consists of a community wide competition aiming to evaluate different strategies for text mining tools, as applied to biomedical literature. We report on task two which addressed the automatic extraction and assignment of Gene Ontology (GO) annotations of human proteins, using full text articles. The predictions of task 2 are based on triplets of protein – GO term – article passage. The annotation-relevant text passages were returned by the participants and evaluated by expert curators of the GO annotation (GOA) team at the European Institute of Bioinformatics (EBI). Each participant could submit up to three results for each sub-task comprising task 2. In total more than 15,000 individual results were provided by the participants. The curators evaluated in addition to the annotation itself, whether the protein and the GO term were correctly predicted and traceable through the submitted text fragment.
Concepts provided by GO are currently the most extended set of terms used for annotating gene products, thus they were explored to assess how effectively text mining tools are able to extract those annotations automatically. Although the obtained results are promising, they are still far from reaching the required performance demanded by real world applications. Among the principal difficulties encountered to address the proposed task, were the complex nature of the GO terms and protein names (the large range of variants which are used to express proteins and especially GO terms in free text), and the lack of a standard training set. A range of very different strategies were used to tackle this task. The dataset generated in line with the BioCreative challenge is publicly available and will allow new possibilities for training information extraction methods in the domain of molecular biology.
PMCID: PMC1869008  PMID: 15960828
10.  New directions in biomedical text annotation: definitions, guidelines and corpus construction 
BMC Bioinformatics  2006;7:356.
While biomedical text mining is emerging as an important research area, practical results have proven difficult to achieve. We believe that an important first step towards more accurate text-mining lies in the ability to identify and characterize text that satisfies various types of information needs. We report here the results of our inquiry into properties of scientific text that have sufficient generality to transcend the confines of a narrow subject area, while supporting practical mining of text for factual information. Our ultimate goal is to annotate a significant corpus of biomedical text and train machine learning methods to automatically categorize such text along certain dimensions that we have defined.
We have identified five qualitative dimensions that we believe characterize a broad range of scientific sentences, and are therefore useful for supporting a general approach to text-mining: focus, polarity, certainty, evidence, and directionality. We define these dimensions and describe the guidelines we have developed for annotating text with regard to them.
To examine the effectiveness of the guidelines, twelve annotators independently annotated the same set of 101 sentences that were randomly selected from current biomedical periodicals. Analysis of these annotations shows 70–80% inter-annotator agreement, suggesting that our guidelines indeed present a well-defined, executable and reproducible task.
We present our guidelines defining a text annotation task, along with annotation results from multiple independently produced annotations, demonstrating the feasibility of the task. The annotation of a very large corpus of documents along these guidelines is currently ongoing. These annotations form the basis for the categorization of text along multiple dimensions, to support viable text mining for experimental results, methodology statements, and other forms of information. We are currently developing machine learning methods, to be trained and tested on the annotated corpus, that would allow for the automatic categorization of biomedical text along the general dimensions that we have presented. The guidelines in full detail, along with annotated examples, are publicly available.
PMCID: PMC1559725  PMID: 16867190
11.  A sentence sliding window approach to extract protein annotations from biomedical articles 
BMC Bioinformatics  2005;6(Suppl 1):S19.
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.
PMCID: PMC1869011  PMID: 15960831
12.  Large-Scale Event Extraction from Literature with Multi-Level Gene Normalization 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e55814.
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 ( Finally, to allow for large-scale bioinformatic analyses, the entire resource is available for bulk download from, under the Creative Commons – Attribution – Share Alike (CC BY-SA) license.
PMCID: PMC3629104  PMID: 23613707
13.  Generating Hypotheses by Discovering Implicit Associations in the Literature: A Case Report of a Search for New Potential Therapeutic Uses for Thalidomide 
The availability of scientific bibliographies through online databases provides a rich source of information for scientists to support their research. However, the risk of this pervasive availability is that an individual researcher may fail to find relevant information that is outside the direct scope of interest. Following Swanson’s ABC model of disjoint but complementary structures in the biomedical literature, we have developed a discovery support tool to systematically analyze the scientific literature in order to generate novel and plausible hypotheses. In this case report, we employ the system to find potentially new target diseases for the drug thalidomide. We find solid bibliographic evidence suggesting that thalidomide might be useful for treating acute pancreatitis, chronic hepatitis C, Helicobacter pylori-induced gastritis, and myasthenia gravis. However, experimental and clinical evaluation is needed to validate these hypotheses and to assess the trade-off between therapeutic benefits and toxicities.
PMCID: PMC342048  PMID: 12626374
14.  E3Miner: a text mining tool for ubiquitin-protein ligases 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;36(Web Server issue):W416-W422.
Ubiquitination is a regulatory process critically involved in the degradation of >80% of cellular proteins, where such proteins are specifically recognized by a key enzyme, or a ubiquitin-protein ligase (E3). Because of this important role of E3s, a rapidly growing body of the published literature in biology and biomedical fields reports novel findings about various E3s and their molecular mechanisms. However, such findings are neither adequately retrieved by general text-mining tools nor systematically made available by such protein databases as UniProt alone. E3Miner is a web-based text mining tool that extracts and organizes comprehensive knowledge about E3s from the abstracts of journal articles and the relevant databases, supporting users to have a good grasp of E3s and their related information easily from the available text. The tool analyzes text sentences to identify protein names for E3s, to narrow down target substrates and other ubiquitin-transferring proteins in E3-specific ubiquitination pathways and to extract molecular features of E3s during ubiquitination. E3Miner also retrieves E3 data about protein functions, other E3-interacting partners and E3-related human diseases from the protein databases, in order to help facilitate further investigation. E3Miner is freely available through
PMCID: PMC2447767  PMID: 18483079
15.  A Diagram Editor for Efficient Biomedical Knowledge Capture and Integration 
Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying complex disorders requires the integration of data and knowledge from different sources including free text literature and various biomedical databases. To facilitate this process, we created the Biomedical Concept Diagram Editor (BCDE) to help researchers distill knowledge from data and literature and aid the process of hypothesis development. A key feature of BCDE is the ability to capture information with a simple drag-and-drop. This is a vast improvement over manual methods of knowledge and data recording and greatly increases the efficiency of the biomedical researcher. BCDE also provides a unique concept matching function to enforce consistent terminology, which enables conceptual relationships deposited by different researchers in the BCDE database to be mined and integrated for intelligible and useful results. We hope BCDE will promote the sharing and integration of knowledge from different researchers for effective hypothesis development.
PMCID: PMC3041526  PMID: 21347131
16.  Tools for loading MEDLINE into a local relational database 
BMC Bioinformatics  2004;5:146.
Researchers who use MEDLINE for text mining, information extraction, or natural language processing may benefit from having a copy of MEDLINE that they can manage locally. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) distributes MEDLINE in eXtensible Markup Language (XML)-formatted text files, but it is difficult to query MEDLINE in that format. We have developed software tools to parse the MEDLINE data files and load their contents into a relational database. Although the task is conceptually straightforward, the size and scope of MEDLINE make the task nontrivial. Given the increasing importance of text analysis in biology and medicine, we believe a local installation of MEDLINE will provide helpful computing infrastructure for researchers.
We developed three software packages that parse and load MEDLINE, and ran each package to install separate instances of the MEDLINE database. For each installation, we collected data on loading time and disk-space utilization to provide examples of the process in different settings. Settings differed in terms of commercial database-management system (IBM DB2 or Oracle 9i), processor (Intel or Sun), programming language of installation software (Java or Perl), and methods employed in different versions of the software. The loading times for the three installations were 76 hours, 196 hours, and 132 hours, and disk-space utilization was 46.3 GB, 37.7 GB, and 31.6 GB, respectively. Loading times varied due to a variety of differences among the systems. Loading time also depended on whether data were written to intermediate files or not, and on whether input files were processed in sequence or in parallel. Disk-space utilization depended on the number of MEDLINE files processed, amount of indexing, and whether abstracts were stored as character large objects or truncated.
Relational database (RDBMS) technology supports indexing and querying of very large datasets, and can accommodate a locally stored version of MEDLINE. RDBMS systems support a wide range of queries and facilitate certain tasks that are not directly supported by the application programming interface to PubMed. Because there is variation in hardware, software, and network infrastructures across sites, we cannot predict the exact time required for a user to load MEDLINE, but our results suggest that performance of the software is reasonable. Our database schemas and conversion software are publicly available at .
PMCID: PMC524480  PMID: 15471541
17.  BioCause: Annotating and analysing causality in the biomedical domain 
BMC Bioinformatics  2013;14:2.
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.
PMCID: PMC3621543  PMID: 23323613
18.  Integrative Bioinformatics for Genomics and Proteomics 
Systems integration is becoming the driving force for 21st century biology. Researchers are systematically tackling gene functions and complex regulatory processes by studying organisms at different levels of organization, from genomes and transcriptomes to proteomes and interactomes. To fully realize the value of such high-throughput data requires advanced bioinformatics for integration, mining, comparative analysis, and functional interpretation. We are developing a bioinformatics research infrastructure that links data mining with text mining and network analysis in the systems biology context for biological network discovery. The system features include: (i) integration of over 100 molecular and omics databases, along with gene/protein ID mapping from disparate data sources; (ii) data mining and text mining capabilities for literature-based knowledge extraction; and (iii) interoperability with ontologies to capture functional properties of proteins and complexes. The system further connects with a data analysis pipeline for next-generation sequencing, linking genomics data to functional annotation. The integrative approach will reveal hidden interrelationships among the various components of the biological systems, allowing researchers to ask complex biological questions and gain better understanding of biological and disease processes, thereby facilitating target discovery.
PMCID: PMC3186664
19.  Uncovering and Improving Upon the Inherent Deficiencies of Radiology Reporting through Data Mining 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2010;23(2):109-118.
Uncertainty has been the perceived Achilles heel of the radiology report since the inception of the free-text report. As a measure of diagnostic confidence (or lack thereof), uncertainty in reporting has the potential to lead to diagnostic errors, delayed clinical decision making, increased cost of healthcare delivery, and adverse outcomes. Recent developments in data mining technologies, such as natural language processing (NLP), have provided the medical informatics community with an opportunity to quantify report concepts, such as uncertainty. The challenge ahead lies in taking the next step from quantification to understanding, which requires combining standardized report content, data mining, and artificial intelligence; thereby creating Knowledge Discovery Databases (KDD). The development of this database technology will expand our ability to record, track, and analyze report data, along with the potential to create data-driven and automated decision support technologies at the point of care. For the radiologist community, this could improve report content through an objective and thorough understanding of uncertainty, identifying its causative factors, and providing data-driven analysis for enhanced diagnosis and clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2837185  PMID: 20162438
Uncertainty; reporting; data mining
20.  Uncovering and Improving Upon the Inherent Deficiencies of Radiology Reporting through Data Mining 
Uncertainty has been the perceived Achilles heel of the radiology report since the inception of the free-text report. As a measure of diagnostic confidence (or lack thereof), uncertainty in reporting has the potential to lead to diagnostic errors, delayed clinical decision making, increased cost of healthcare delivery, and adverse outcomes. Recent developments in data mining technologies, such as natural language processing (NLP), have provided the medical informatics community with an opportunity to quantify report concepts, such as uncertainty. The challenge ahead lies in taking the next step from quantification to understanding, which requires combining standardized report content, data mining, and artificial intelligence; thereby creating Knowledge Discovery Databases (KDD). The development of this database technology will expand our ability to record, track, and analyze report data, along with the potential to create data-driven and automated decision support technologies at the point of care. For the radiologist community, this could improve report content through an objective and thorough understanding of uncertainty, identifying its causative factors, and providing data-driven analysis for enhanced diagnosis and clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2837185  PMID: 20162438
Uncertainty; reporting; data mining
21.  Effective use of latent semantic indexing and computational linguistics in biological and biomedical applications 
Text mining is rapidly becoming an essential technique for the annotation and analysis of large biological data sets. Biomedical literature currently increases at a rate of several thousand papers per week, making automated information retrieval methods the only feasible method of managing this expanding corpus. With the increasing prevalence of open-access journals and constant growth of publicly-available repositories of biomedical literature, literature mining has become much more effective with respect to the extraction of biomedically-relevant data. In recent years, text mining of popular databases such as MEDLINE has evolved from basic term-searches to more sophisticated natural language processing techniques, indexing and retrieval methods, structural analysis and integration of literature with associated metadata. In this review, we will focus on Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), a computational linguistics technique increasingly used for a variety of biological purposes. It is noted for its ability to consistently outperform benchmark Boolean text searches and co-occurrence models at information retrieval and its power to extract indirect relationships within a data set. LSI has been used successfully to formulate new hypotheses, generate novel connections from existing data, and validate empirical data.
PMCID: PMC3558626  PMID: 23386833
latent semantic indexing; data mining; computational linguistics; molecular interactions; drug discovery
22.  Which gene did you mean? 
BMC Bioinformatics  2005;6:142.
Computational Biology needs computer-readable information records. Increasingly, meta-analysed and pre-digested information is being used in the follow up of high throughput experiments and other investigations that yield massive data sets. Semantic enrichment of plain text is crucial for computer aided analysis. In general people will think about semantic tagging as just another form of text mining, and that term has quite a negative connotation in the minds of some biologists who have been disappointed by classical approaches of text mining. Efforts so far have tried to develop tools and technologies that retrospectively extract the correct information from text, which is usually full of ambiguities. Although remarkable results have been obtained in experimental circumstances, the wide spread use of information mining tools is lagging behind earlier expectations. This commentary proposes to make semantic tagging an integral process to electronic publishing.
PMCID: PMC1173089  PMID: 15941477
23.  Recent progress in automatically extracting information from the pharmacogenomic literature 
Pharmacogenomics  2010;11(10):1467-1489.
The biomedical literature holds our understanding of pharmacogenomics, but it is dispersed across many journals. In order to integrate our knowledge, connect important facts across publications and generate new hypotheses we must organize and encode the contents of the literature. By creating databases of structured pharmocogenomic knowledge, we can make the value of the literature much greater than the sum of the individual reports. We can, for example, generate candidate gene lists or interpret surprising hits in genome-wide association studies. Text mining automatically adds structure to the unstructured knowledge embedded in millions of publications, and recent years have seen a surge in work on biomedical text mining, some specific to pharmacogenomics literature. These methods enable extraction of specific types of information and can also provide answers to general, systemic queries. In this article, we describe the main tasks of text mining in the context of pharmacogenomics, summarize recent applications and anticipate the next phase of text mining applications.
PMCID: PMC3035632  PMID: 21047206
BioNLP; classification; curation; data mining; gene-drug relationships; information extraction; information retrieval; machine learning; natural language processing; NLP; pharmacogenetics; pharmacogenomics; text mining
24.  PubMed and beyond: a survey of web tools for searching biomedical literature 
The past decade has witnessed the modern advances of high-throughput technology and rapid growth of research capacity in producing large-scale biological data, both of which were concomitant with an exponential growth of biomedical literature. This wealth of scholarly knowledge is of significant importance for researchers in making scientific discoveries and healthcare professionals in managing health-related matters. However, the acquisition of such information is becoming increasingly difficult due to its large volume and rapid growth. In response, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is continuously making changes to its PubMed Web service for improvement. Meanwhile, different entities have devoted themselves to developing Web tools for helping users quickly and efficiently search and retrieve relevant publications. These practices, together with maturity in the field of text mining, have led to an increase in the number and quality of various Web tools that provide comparable literature search service to PubMed. In this study, we review 28 such tools, highlight their respective innovations, compare them to the PubMed system and one another, and discuss directions for future development. Furthermore, we have built a website dedicated to tracking existing systems and future advances in the field of biomedical literature search. Taken together, our work serves information seekers in choosing tools for their needs and service providers and developers in keeping current in the field.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3025693  PMID: 21245076
25.  Evaluation of text-mining systems for biology: overview of the Second BioCreative community challenge 
Genome Biology  2008;9(Suppl 2):S1.
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.
PMCID: PMC2559980  PMID: 18834487

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