HealthCyberMap: a semantic visual browser of medical Internet resources based on clinical codes and the human body metaphor

Maged N Kamel Boulos, Abdul V Roudsari, Ewart R Carso N

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: HealthCyberMap (HCM- is a web-based service for healthcare professionals and librarians, patients and the public in general that aims at mapping parts of the health information resources in cyberspace in novel ways to improve their retrieval and navigation.

METHODS AND SERVICE DESCRIPTION: HCM adopts a clinical metadata framework built upon a clinical coding ontology for the semantic indexing, classification and browsing of Internet health information resources. A resource metadata base holds information about selected resources. HCM then uses GIS (Geographic Information Systems) spatialization methods to generate interactive navigational cybermaps from the metadata base. These visual cybermaps are based on familiar medical metaphors.

CONCLUSIONS: HCM cybermaps can be considered as semantically spatialized, ontology-based browsing views of the underlying resource metadata base. Using a clinical coding scheme as a metric for spatialization ('semantic distance') is unique to HCM and is very much suited for the semantic categorization and navigation of Internet health information resources. Clinical codes ensure reliable and unambiguous topical indexing of these resources. HCM also introduces a useful form of cyberspatial analysis for the detection of topical coverage gaps in the resource metadata base using choropleth (shaded) maps of human body systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Information and Libraries Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


  • Abstracting and Indexing as Topic
  • Atlases as Topic
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Great Britain
  • Human Body
  • Humans
  • Information Services
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Internet
  • Maps as Topic
  • User-Computer Interface


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