This is a follow-up post to Incorporating MeSH in Trip.

Adding MeSH to Trip is not going to happen overnight but we’re starting on the journey.  One key element we’re focusing on at the moment is ensuring all the documents within Trip are assigned MeSH terms. Many of our documents come from PubMed so these will already have MeSH terms assigned to them, we can simply grab these.  However, a large number of documents (synopses, guidelines etc) don’t, so we need to ‘tag’ these documents – and this is what we’ve been doing this week.

We’ve been trying three methods (helped by staff at the NLM), all based around their automated tagging systems that they use in-house:

  1. Running the title through the automated system
  2. Running the whole document through the system
  3. Summarising the document and then putting it through the automated system.

The third option was tried as option 1 gave too few MeSH terms while option 2 gave too many.  And it seems that 2 is pretty good.  Here are two examples:

Source documentAcute management of croup in the emergency department, Canadian Paediatric Society.

Terms assigned:

Child
Humans
Infant
Croup
Antipyretics
Child Health
Consensus
Outpatients
Caregivers
Canada
Dexamethasone
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Fever
Emergency Service, Hospital
Vomiting
Algorithms
Fungi
Airway Obstruction

Source documentPimecrolimus for the Treatment of Adults with Atopic Dermatitis, Seborrheic Dermatitis, or Psoriasis: A Review of Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness, CADTH

Terms assigned:

Humans
Adult
pimecrolimus
Dermatitis, Atopic
Dermatitis, Seborrheic
sertaconazole
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Methylprednisolone
Dermatology
Tacrolimus
Imidazoles
Thiophenes
Dermatologic Agents
Psoriasis
Eczema
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Treatment Outcome

The terms seem plausible and members of the Trip Advisory Board have agreed that the two-step approach (summarising before putting through the automated system) is the best. We’re not claiming it’s perfect, but it seems pretty good.

The next step is to try to make this a seamless, fully automatic, process – to generate the MeSH terms via simply adding a URL (as opposed to summarise first, then add to automated system).

I’m quietly confident that this ‘problem’ has been solved.  This then leaves the more complex problems of:

  • How to incorporate it in to Trip (hopefully that’ll be ok)
  • Creating an interface that works for everyone.  I suspect most health professionals will not want to bother with MeSH, so we’ll need to hide the complexity. However, information specialists will have opinions on how they’d like to see it work – so that will need some additional work….

The longest journey begins with the first step….

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