Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 905–929 | Cite as

Expanding user’s query with tag-neighbors for effective medical information retrieval

  • Frederico Durao
  • Karunakar Bayyapu
  • Guandong Xu
  • Peter Dolog
  • Ricardo Lage


Medical information is a natural human demand. Existing search engines on the Web often are unable to handle medical search well because they do not consider its special requirements. Often a medical information searcher is uncertain about his exact questions and unfamiliar with medical terminology. Under-specified queries often lead to undesirable search results that do not contain the information needed. To overcome the limitations of under-specified queries, we utilize tags to enhance information retrieval capabilities by expanding users’ original queries with context-relevant information. We compute a set of significant tag neighbor candidates based on the neighbor frequency and weight, and utilize the qualified tag neighbors to expand an entry query. The proposed approach is evaluated by using MedWorm medical article collection and results show considerable precision improvements over state-of-the-art approaches.


Medical information retrieval Query expansion Tagging Health information system 



This work has been partially supported by FP7 ICT project M-Eco: Medical Ecosystem Personalized Event-Based Surveillance under grant number 247829. This journal is a extended version of previously published paper at the International Conference on Information Science and Applications (ICISA 2011).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederico Durao
    • 1
  • Karunakar Bayyapu
    • 2
  • Guandong Xu
    • 3
  • Peter Dolog
    • 1
  • Ricardo Lage
    • 1
  1. 1.IWIS — Intelligent Web and Information Systems, Computer Science DepartmentAalborg UniversityAalborg-EastDenmark
  2. 2.CBS — Center for Biological Sequence Analysis, Department of Systems BiologyTechnical University of DenmarkKongens LyngbyDenmark
  3. 3.Center for Applied InformaticsVictoria UniversityVictoriaAustralia

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