A multilingual gold-standard corpus for biomedical concept recognition: the Mantra GSC

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2015 Sep;22(5):948-56. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv037. Epub 2015 May 6.


Objective: To create a multilingual gold-standard corpus for biomedical concept recognition.

Materials and methods: We selected text units from different parallel corpora (Medline abstract titles, drug labels, biomedical patent claims) in English, French, German, Spanish, and Dutch. Three annotators per language independently annotated the biomedical concepts, based on a subset of the Unified Medical Language System and covering a wide range of semantic groups. To reduce the annotation workload, automatically generated preannotations were provided. Individual annotations were automatically harmonized and then adjudicated, and cross-language consistency checks were carried out to arrive at the final annotations.

Results: The number of final annotations was 5530. Inter-annotator agreement scores indicate good agreement (median F-score 0.79), and are similar to those between individual annotators and the gold standard. The automatically generated harmonized annotation set for each language performed equally well as the best annotator for that language.

Discussion: The use of automatic preannotations, harmonized annotations, and parallel corpora helped to keep the manual annotation efforts manageable. The inter-annotator agreement scores provide a reference standard for gauging the performance of automatic annotation techniques.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first gold-standard corpus for biomedical concept recognition in languages other than English. Other distinguishing features are the wide variety of semantic groups that are being covered, and the diversity of text genres that were annotated.

Keywords: concept identification; gold-standard corpus; inter-annotator agreement; multilinguality; semantic enrichment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Multilingualism*
  • Natural Language Processing*
  • Semantics
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Unified Medical Language System