Silverchair’s Cortex TaxonomyTM provides the framework for the SCM6 semantic layer. Cortex is a comprehensive, standards-connected taxonomy informed by more than 10 years of analysis of key professional and scholarly literature. It is a living taxonomy that is used by leading STM publishers to actively classify concepts in textbooks, clinical manuals, journal articles, news, guidelines, and self-assessment/CME. Cortex currently includes more than 50,000 hierarchical concepts with broad coverage of the life sciences, with new concepts added every working day. A companion database with nearly 300,000 lexical equivalents augments the taxonomy.
Developed to Support STM Product Deployment
Cortex is also designed to fill the gap between unwieldy academic taxonomies (e.g., SNOMED) that produce hurdles for implementation in active applications and sparse production taxonomies (e.g., MeSH, which contains about half the number of concepts and equivalents currently available in Cortex) that do not cover concepts with enough detail. Cortex is efficiently structured to enhance the speed of software request processing and quick and straightforward application to content by automated routines, while at the same time being complete enough to cover topics at appropriate levels of granularity.
Connection to Real-World Users
Cortex reflects a unique view into new terminology being used by practitioners and researchers both formally and informally, as used in “real world” situations in hospitals, outpatient clinics, research labs, and academic settings. Domain experts and editorial boards provide input on concepts and hierarchies that best support the varied use models for our applications.
Agile and Up-to-Date
An effective taxonomy is a living data structure. Taxonomies are not one-time development projects—they must be maintained on an ongoing basis as a domain and the demands of its users evolve. With the pace of research today, taxonomies without a continuous maintenance plan will be outdated before they can even be deployed. Silverchair staff update the Cortex taxonomy daily in response to new topics found in breaking news, journals, and books. Our focus is capturing evolving concepts as they appear in the literature—and when they are of heightened interest to information seekers. Continuous, rapid contributions from the STM literature, coupled with a rigorous management process provided by Silverchair, produce the most current, actionable taxonomy available in science, technology, and medicine.
In addition to analysis of emerging literature, Cortex is expanded through analysis of search logs reflecting millions of searches per month and user behavior across dozens of information sites to learn how users look for topics. This activity supports continuous addition of jargon, “common parlance,” alternate search phrasings, abbreviations, and even common misspellings to the database of synonyms and other lexical equivalents used in conjunction with Cortex. For example, equivalents for “myocardial infarction” include heart attack, MI, and myocardial infraction.
Publisher-specific taxonomies developed at the enterprise level are often ineffective at connecting your content to other resources in the field. Cortex solves this problem by delivering domain-level concepts that are, whenever possible, mapped via Concept Unique Identifier to the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS, which includes MeSH, SNOMED, ICD, RxNorm, and many other standard health care taxonomies) developed and maintained by the National Library of Medicine. By maintaining this connection to UMLS, Cortex ensures high levels of interoperability with UMLS constituent vocabularies, which in turn offers high levels of interoperability for health care partnerships such as with electronic health record providers.