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J Med Libr Assoc. 2006 Apr;94(2):198-205.

An introduction to the Semantic Web for health sciences librarians.

Author information

  • 1University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Central Library, Str. Avram Iancu 31 400083, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. irobu@umfcluj.ro



The paper (1) introduces health sciences librarians to the main concepts and principles of the Semantic Web (SW) and (2) briefly reviews a number of projects on the handling of biomedical information that uses SW technology.


The paper is structured into two main parts. "Semantic Web Technology" provides a high-level description, with examples, of the main standards and concepts: extensible markup language (XML), Resource Description Framework (RDF), RDF Schema (RDFS), ontologies, and their utility in information retrieval, concluding with mention of more advanced SW languages and their characteristics. "Semantic Web Applications and Research Projects in the Biomedical Field" is a brief review of the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS), Generalised Architecture for Languages, Encyclopedias and Nomenclatures in Medicine (GALEN), HealthCyberMap, LinkBase, and the thesaurus of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The paper also mentions other benefits and by-products of the SW, citing projects related to them.


Some of the problems facing the SW vision are presented, especially the ways in which the librarians' expertise in organizing knowledge and in structuring information may contribute to SW projects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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