Digitization of Data for a Historical Medical Dictionary

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Abstract

What are known as specialized or specialist dictionaries are much more than lists of words and their definitions with occasional comments on things such as synonymy and homonymy. That is to say, a particular specialist term may be associated with many other concepts, including quotations, different senses, etymological categories, semantic categories, superordinate and subordinate terms in the terminological hierarchy, spelling variants, and references to background sources discussing the exact meaning and application of the term. The various concepts, in turn, form networks of mutual links, which makes the structure of the background concepts demanding to model when designing a database structure for this type of dictionary. The Dictionary of medical vocabulary in English, 1375–1550 is a specialized historical dictionary that covers the vast medical lexicon of the centuries examined. It comprises over 12,000 terms, each of them associated with a host of background concepts. Compiling the dictionary took over 15 years. The process started with an analysis of hand-written manuscripts and early printed books from different sources and ended with the electronic dictionary described in the present paper. Over these years, the conceptual structure, database schema, and requirements for essential use cases were iteratively developed. In our paper, we introduce the conceptual structure and database schema modelled for implementing an electronic dictionary that involves different use cases such as term insertion and linking a term to related concepts. The achieved conceptual model, database structure, and use cases provide a general framework for reference-oriented specialized dictionaries, including ones with a historical orientation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615–643
Number of pages29
JournalLANGUAGE RESOURCES AND EVALUATION
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • English
  • Middle Ages
  • database
  • dictionary
  • englanti
  • keskiaika
  • lääketiede
  • medicine
  • sanakirja
  • tietokanta

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

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