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Researchers at the University of Granada collaborate in the creation of multilingual information system on oncology

The research group OncoTerm, made up by researchers from the Universities of Granada, Malaga and Valladolid, and Virgen de las Nieves de Granada hospital, have designed an Internet-based information system specialised in oncology.

The result is a database with hierarchical data consisting of 1896 concepts related to cancer and 4033 words in Spanish, English, and German. According to the project’s leading researcher, Pamela-Blanchard Faber Benitez from the Department of Translation and Interpreting of the University of Granada, ‘these terminological entries are very rich in information, apart from general contents, as they include other information like web links, articles, etc’.

Although there are links with a similar function, they are mainly in English. According to Pamela Faber, ‘the fact that the language of our information system is Spanish and includes the equivalent terminology in English and German not only makes Spanish-speakers’ access to the information easier but also contributes to a better understanding of servers in these languages’.

The conclusions of the project are very useful for health experts, researchers, patients and families, as well as translators and authors of specialised texts. In addition to this, it is a tool that contributes to make their work more efficient, as it ‘guarantees quality and the access to the requested information in a short time, thanks to the search system and the concepts organization’.

As Dr. Faber explains, OncoTerm is an innovating project in the terminology field due to the information analysis, recuperation, and representation techniques that have been used. This has allowed researchers to improve some aspects found in other terminological resources in Internet.

Therefore, OncoTerm meets its most general objective- ‘to make of cancer information a tool that allows families and patients who suffer from such disease to be better informed throughout all the stages’. The number of cancer cases in Spain is increasingly higher, thus the relevance of the transfer of knowledge, as ‘understanding a disease does help to overcome the fear of it’, Dr. Faber said.


The series of methodologies used to develop OncoTerm have allowed this research group to apply this new terminology resource to other fields. With this same purpose, they are currently working on the development of a computing application in the environment and engineering fields with the collaboration of the research group Grupo de Puertos y Costas of the University of Granada, whose main office is in Centro Andaluz de Medio Ambiente (CEAMA). This new database, called PuertoTerm, also includes a bank of images in which ‘words can be displayed and linked to others, that is, there is a systematic connection between image and concept’. The latter ‘has not been done with specialised words before’, Dr. Palmer pointed out.

Researchers have applied for a project of excellence to the Andalusian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Enterprise in order to include French in the PuertoTerm information system. So far, the terminology is in Spanish, English and German.

Ismael Gaona | alfa
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