Question-answering systems as efficient sources of terminological information: an evaluation

Olvera-Lobo, María-Dolores and Gutiérrez-Artacho, Juncal Question-answering systems as efficient sources of terminological information: an evaluation. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 2010, vol. 27, n. 4, pp. 268-276. [Journal article (Paginated)]


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English abstract

A new alternative for Information Retrieval Systems. Most users frequently need to retrieve specific information about a factual question to obtain a whole document. Objectives: The study evaluates the efficiency of QA systems as terminological sources for physicians, specialised translators and users in general. It assesses the performance of one open-domain QA system, START, and one restricted-domain QA system, MedQA. Method: The study collected two hundred definitional questions (What is…?), either general or specialised, from the health website WebMD. Sources used by the open-domain QA system, START, and the restricted-domain QA system, MedQA, were studied to retrieve answers, and later a range of evaluation measures (precision, Mean Reciprocal Rank, Total Reciprocal Rank, First Hit Success) were applied to mark the quality of answers. Results: It was established that both systems are useful in the retrieval of valid definitional healthcare information, with an acceptable degree of coherent and precise responses from both. The answers supplied by MedQA were more reliable that those of START in the sense that they came from specialised clinical or academic sources, most of them showing links to further research articles. Conclusions: Results obtained show the potential of this type of tool in the more general realm of information access, and the retrieval of health information. They may be considered a good, reliable and reasonably precise alternative in alleviating the information overload. Both QA systems can help professionals and users can obtain healthcare information.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: decision support techniques, evaluation studies as topic, information storage and retrieval, natural language processing, MedQA, START
Subjects: L. Information technology and library technology
Depositing user: Maria Dolores/ M.D. Olvera Lobo
Date deposited: 12 Nov 2010
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:17



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