Call for papers for a special topic section in Methods of Information in Medicine

Topic: Health information search –free text, visual information, knowledge bases and


Delivering the right information to the right people at the right time and in the right format has always been one of the major goals of medical informatics or health informatics. Currently, several tendencies become visible in health informatics to reach this goal. On the one hand secondary use of patient data is discussed extensively and has the potential to increase the quality of care by making past experiences available to a larger number of clinicians.On the other hand an increasing number of medical knowledge bases, the scientific literature and also information for laypersons such as MedlinePlus have become available publicly on the Internet. All these resources include structured data, free text and visual data sources that can be exploited for information search.

The goal of this special issue is to show the reader the variety of techniques that information search includes and to motivate a large number of researchers to submit articles crossing the border of a single information analysis domain, such as combining knowledge bases with free text search, visual with textual information to deliver the information in
best quality to the healthcare professionals and laypersons. The spectrum of potential papers is large ranging from the detection of information quality on the web, the connection of knowledge bases with free text for retrieval and visual information retrieval.

Motivated authors and researchers will be found through call for papers submitted to several related EU projects and participants of the ImageCLEF benchmark on visual medical information retrieval. A wide participation is expected from a variety of domains around the field of medical information access and retrieval.


The major objectives of this special topic are to highlight the current challenges in medical information retrieval from including visual data to the retrieval process, extracting semantic information from free text to extremely large repositories and multilingual information access. The special topic should bring these domains closer towards the
reader. Possible topics are:

• Textual medical retrieval, natural language processing and extraction of semantics from text, including text mining and the meaningful use of vocabularies and terminologies;
• Multilingual retrieval from medical information repositories;
• Medical image and video retrieval including the combination of various images and text or semantic data;
• Specific challenges related to data quality, the level required to understand specific data sources, retrieval systems for specific user groups, and to the evaluation of medical information retrieval systems

Special topic organizers:

Prof. Dr. Henning Müller
University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Sierre, Switzerland,
PD Dr. Allan Hanbury
Information Retrieval Facility, Vienna, Austria,
Dr. Najeeb Al Shorbaji,
Director Knowledge Management, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland,


1.4.2011    Call for papers
1.9.2011    Submission deadline
1.12.2011  Initial reviews ready and feedback submitted to authors
15.2.2012  Final versions of all accepted papers ready
~4/2012    Publication of the special topic

Submission instructions:

High quality, original papers dealing with the medical information retrieval domain are solicited. All the manuscripts submitted will be subject to a rigorous peer review process. Submissions of full papers should be limited to at most 4,000 words including figures, tables, and references. The papers must follow the submission guidelines of Methods of Information in Medicine (available at

Papers must not have appeared in, nor be under consideration by other journals. The Special Topic will be published in spring 2012. Please submit your paper electronically directly via the Manuscript Central web site of the journal at Papers should be submitted in the category "original papers for a special topic" and in the submission letter the name of the special topic (Health information search) should be mentioned.