Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What would you do with a semantic pubmed?

If all of the concepts buried in the text in PubMed were dug out, stitched together into a semantic network and placed into a system that could rapidly provide answers to database-style (e.g. sparql) queries over that graph what would you do with it?

I was recently posed this question and have been scratching my head to come up with a very good answer. I can't seem to get past the first thought that popped into my head. My initial idea was to build an interface that would allow any user to gain answers to this fundamental question

"how is concept A related to concept B".
As I saw demonstrated a few weeks ago, the technology exists to execute such queries but I personally have never seen a web interface that would allow untrained end users to explore very large knowledge bases in that fashion. I imagine something as simple as two autocomplete boxes for the input and then a variety of presentation styles for the output (graphs, text, etc.).

Any other ideas ? I might get a chance to build something like this soon.

-Update (link to small related friendfeed thread)


Benjamin Good said...

This post prompted a good batch of comments on friendfeed but I have lost my comment syncing capabilities due to unfortunate spam levels with Disqus. Not sure if its kosher to repost their comments here? For now, you can see the friendfeedthread at the top of my feed.