Misspellings in keywords

In Evidence-Based Librarianship on February 26, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , ,

Just now I was hoping to find a resource to help me find out what medical words are frequently misspelled and what those misspellings look like.  I found a couple of websites of general words and their misspellings but both lacked medical words.  So I was left guessing.  Words I find genuinely bamboozling such as ‘arrhythmias’ and ‘hypercholesterolaemia’ I typed into Google and if misspelled, it directs me to the proper spelling.  I do like the way Google doesn’t give any US bias in spellings–i.e. ‘hypercholesterolaemia’ isn’t corrected to ‘hypercholesterolemia’.

However, I think there is an informationist-sized gap (or is that ‘informaticist-sized’?) for an intelligent tool that does the following:

1. Gives synonyms for medical words

2. Gives common misspellings of commonly misspelled medical words

3. Gives alternate endings (i.e. hypercholesterolaemic) associated with the word

4. Has an abbreviation lookup (yes I have seen these, but nothing masterful, authoritative and international, at least for the English-speaking world) AND gives colloquial abbreviations (e.g. ‘afib’, ‘a-fib’, and ‘af’ for atrial fibrillation)

I should mention that I am sorting out the keywords for the work website.  About three-quarters of the way through, I noticed that my predecessor had tagged each publication’s record with ‘GENERAL PRACTIONER’.  When they invent a simply ‘find and replace’ function for this sort of thing, would you let me know?

I just did a medical dictionary search and found something new and somewhat promising: mondofacto.  I say somewhat because it didn’t return anything for ‘hypercholesterolemia’ but gave me some useful stuff for ‘hypercholesterolaemia’.


2 Responses to “Misspellings in keywords”

  1. Hi Danielle,
    Thanks for your positive comments about mondofacto!
    You were unlucky with your search for hypocholesterolemia – for many words in the mondofacto dictionary, entering a US spelling would re-direct you to the entry for the UK spellilng, as we are based in the UK we have a bias for UK English (so, a search for anemia redirects to the definition for anaemia). But, we haven’t achieved this for all the entries yet – we’re working on it!
    If your search is not successful, the word you’re searching for will often by found in the previous/next words listed at the bottom of the page.
    Also, if you search for a stem (hypochol) this will return a list of words that begin with that stem.
    We have a list of abbreviations – although this list doesn’t contain all colloquial abbreviations, it does have some. For example, a search for af would return a definition for atrial fibrillation.
    At present we don’t have alternative endings for every word (hypcholesterolaemia/hypcholesterolamic etc…), but a search for anaemia and anaemic would both yield results. We are considering implementing this feature, but we need to consider whether enough users would appreciate this feature to justify the investment in development. Presently we suggest that users search for the most common form of the word – again the previous/next feature can be useful here.
    We love hearing suggestions for improving the dictionary, so please let me know if you think of anything else.

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