Palimpsest upon palimpsest

Dear Dr. Zipf,

Good day to you.  My name is [name removed to protect the guilty] and I am a Ph.D. in [field removed to protect the guilty] at [a hospital which shall remain nameless].  I need to learn how to use natural language processing to process the electronic medical record and provide data that can be used for analysis.  As you are an expert in this field I thought I would email you and ask for your assistance.  Are there any books or training courses out there that can help me learn biomedical natural language processing in a few weeks.   Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.  Please let me know.

Warmest Regards,

[Name removed to protect the guilty]


In a few weeks… In a few weeks…


Dear Dr. X,

Biomedical natural language processing is super-simple, and I would be surprised if you couldn’t learn it in a few weeks.  You might find this book helpful:

Cohen, Kevin Bretonnel, and Dina Demner-Fushman. Biomedical natural language processing. Vol. 11. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2014.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Warmest Regards,

Beauregard Zipf, PhD


Dear Dr. X,

The doctoral students in our graduate program typically spend five years learning biomedical natural language processing.  Personally, I’ve spent my entire career learning biomedical natural language processing, beginning with spending a number of years as a medic in the military, where I learned the “biomedical” part. I mostly did physiological monitoring–hemodynamics, electrophysiology, stuff like that.  I later got a bachelor’s degree in linguistics (double major in English, actually), as well as a master’s degree in linguistics, and a PhD in linguistics, which is how I picked up the “language” part.  Along the way I learned to program–the hard way, which is to say by making more mistakes than you could possibly imagine, from the painful to the just plain embarrassing.  (That’s the “processing.”) Since then, I’ve spent years trying to figure this stuff out, and I still wouldn’t say that I know very much about it.  But, hey, you’ve got a PhD in [redacted], so, yeah–you should be able to pick this up in a few weeks.  You might find this book helpful:
 

Cohen, Kevin Bretonnel, and Dina Demner-Fushman. Biomedical natural language processing. Vol. 11. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2014.

 
Warmest Regards,

Beauregard Zipf, Registered Cardiovascular Technologist, Advanced Cardiac Life Support instructor, EMT, PhD


Dear Dr. X,

  • Are there any books or training courses out there that can help me learn biomedical natural language processing
  •  

What an interesting question–thank you for bringing it up.  When I Googled the words biomedical natural language processing, the first hit I got was this:

 

Cohen, Kevin Bretonnel, and Dina Demner-Fushman. Biomedical natural language processing. Vol. 11. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2014.

 

Looks like it might be relevant?

 

Best wishes,

Zipf


Hi, Dr. X,

It’s nice to hear from you.  You might find this book helpful:

 

Cohen, Kevin Bretonnel, and Dina Demner-Fushman. Biomedical natural language processing. Vol. 11. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2014.

 

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
Best wishes,

 

Zipf


English notes
palimpsest:  “writing material (such as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased” (Merriam-Webster).  Back in the day, writing was mostly done on parchment, and parchment was expensive, so in the monasteries that preserved much of the ancient writing that we have today, it wasn’t uncommon to scrape the ink off of parchment if you didn’t really care about what was written on it, and write something on it that you did care about.  If you’re lucky, though, today we can recover an earlier text from the impressions that it left behind on the parchment, and there are some texts that are only known from a palimpsest.  Wikipedia lists most of Cicero’s De republica, as well as the oldest Koranic variant in existence.

8 thoughts on “Palimpsest upon palimpsest”

  1. Isn’t it a compliment that your recommendation is the valorising stamp of approval on the obvious option, where he was hesitating before? (A time-wasting compliment, ok. But still a compliment.)

    Beauregard, what a fabulous name. Do you go by Beau mostly? That’s a real gay romance novel hero name. As a word, it’s almost as good as ‘gormless’. Although I prefer to describe myself as ‘sans gorm’, usually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Beauregard” is a stereotypical name in the US. You think of, say, a Southern gentleman–but, a buffoon of a Southern gentleman, perhaps in a Road Runner cartoon. Nonetheless: it is, indeed, a gorgeous name, and I would be only too happy to be known as “Beau” to my friends and relations. Or to anyone, really. It’s certainly not a gormless name, like my actual name!

      Liked by 1 person

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