We have a manual system for handling synonyms in our search.  This means that if someone searches for IBS we automatically search for irritable bowel syndrome.  I’m currently undertaking a review of these synonyms, a long-winded and problematic process – but well worth doing.  However, I’m stuck and would like people’s views (email me via jon.brassey@tripdatabase.com).  Currently, we have three separate ‘collections’ of synonyms:

paediatric, paediatrics, pediatric, pediatrics, infant, children, infants, infancy, child, childhood, kid, kids, preschoolers, childrens, children’s

infant, babies, baby, child

newborn, neonatal, neonate, neonates, newborns, neonatology

There is clear overlap.  But there is a precise answer and a pragmatic one.  In other words, you need to put yourself in the shoes of a searcher.  So, if they search for children and cough is it reasonable to drop in the synonym paediatric ie also search for paediatric and cough?  I think it is.

But, and this gets a bit harder – where is the overlap between newborn with infant and with children?

The easiest solution is to lump the top two ‘collections’ together and leave the third ‘as is’. 

But I’d welcome opinions!

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