The development of a MeSH-based biomedical termbase at Hogeschool Gent

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Buysschaert, J.
P. Zweigenbaum et al.
LREC 2006 Satellite Workshop W08. Acquiring and representing multilingual, specialized lexicons: the case of biomedicine


This paper reports on an ongoing long-term project to build an English-and-Dutch termbase using the MeSH terms (Medical Subject Headings) as input. Although from the start NLP applications had been envisaged, the database has mainly been built according to the traditional principles of terminology management for human translation. With important parts of the project now nearing completion, the question arises whether and how the material could be made available in a traditional dictionary format as well as in a format that can be used in language technology applications. It is argued that the traditional detailed working method used, based on explicit evidence and recording a wealth of information on synonyms, variants, usage and reliability, can also be profitable to NLP applications. It is unlikely, however, that a single format can be found to make the data available for all possible purposes. Rather, the current database will have to act as a common repository from which various extractions can be made, through conversion, for different applications. To facilitate conversions, it would be expedient for future projects to work towards a uniform standard from the start. It is speculated that TermBase eXchange may be the most promising emerging standard at the moment.