Augmenting spatio-textual search with an infectious disease ontology

TitleAugmenting spatio-textual search with an infectious disease ontology
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsLieberman MD, Sankaranarayanan J, Samet H, Sperling J
Conference NameData Engineering Workshop, 2008. ICDEW 2008. IEEE 24th International Conference on
Date Published2008/04//
Keywords(artificial, article;ontology;spatio-textual, disease;map, engines;, information, intelligence);search, interface;newspaper, search;classification;diseases;indexing;medical, STEWARD, system;classification;epidemics;indexing;infectious, systems;ontologies

A system is described that automatically categorizes and classifies infectious disease incidence reports by type and geographic location, to aid analysis by domain experts. It identifies references to infectious diseases by using a disease ontology. The system leverages the textual and spatial search capabilities of the STEWARD system to enable queries such as reports on "influenza" near "Hong Kong", possibly within a particular time period. Documents from the U.S. National Library of Medicine ( and the World Health Organization ( are tagged so that spatial relationships to specific disease occurrences can be presented graphically via a map interface. In addition, newspaper articles can be tagged and indexed to bolster the surveillance of ongoing epidemics. Examining past epidemics using this system may lead to improved understanding of the cause and spread of infectious diseases.