This project has been retired and is no longer supported


  • Maria-Elena Hernandez
  • Sean Falconer
  • Margaret-Anne Storey
  • Ida Sim, University of California
  • Simona Carini, University of California


Hernandez, M.-E., S. M. Falconer, M.-A. Storey, S. Carini and I. Sim “Multiple Synchronized Tag Clouds for Semi-Structured Documents”, Infovis 2008, October 19-24, Columbus, Ohio, US.

Hernandez, M.-E., S. M. Falconer, M.-A. Storey, S. Carini, and I. Sim, “Synchronized tag clouds for exploring semi-structured clinical trial data,” article Number 4, CASCON 2008, Oct. 27-30, Toronto.

Hernandez, M.-E., S. Carini, M.-A. Storey, and I. Sim, “An interactive tool for visualizing design heterogeneity in clinical trials,” AMIA 2008, Biomedical and Health Informatics from Foundations to Policy, Nov. 8-12, 2008, Washington, DC.

CTSearch is a prototype for query reformulation and comparison of clinical trials. CTSearch is an implementation of the TagSync (multiple synchronized tag clouds) project for a sample dataset from ClinicalTrials.gov registry.

  In this research, we have been investigating how to improve web interfaces for accessing and searching biomedical and clinical data repositories. In particular, we have been focusing our efforts on improving interfaces to access semi-structured information related to clinical trials. A semi-structured resource consists of free text or data partially annotated with some specific keywords or metadata from a controlled terminology.


In our investigations with clinical researchers, we have noted that current searching and browsing tools do not sufficiently aid a user in the complex process of seeking useful information (query specification, browsing results, understanding and summarizing results) from a digital collection of documents. Most often, a user starts with a vague idea of how to find useful information and formulates an initial query that is, in most cases, refined as he or she better understands the information domain. Typically, results appear as a large, text-based, list that may have some structured information in each individual result.


Our tool, called CTSearch, is an implementation of TagSync which combines multiple synchronized tag clouds to improve the refinement of queries and the comparison of results. CTSearch uses a sample of trials fromClinicalTrials.gov a leading repository for clinical trials.

CTSearch was developed with support from the National Center for Biomedical Ontology.