Automatically extracting information needs from ad hoc clinical questions is an important step towards medical question answering. In this work, we first explored supervised machine-learning approaches to automatically classify an ad hoc clinical question into general topics. We then explored both unsupervised and supervised methods for automatically extracting keywords from an ad hoc clinical question. Our methods were evaluated on the 4,654 clinical questions maintained by the National Library of Medicine. Our best systems or methods showed F-score of 76% for the task of question-general topic classification and of 58% for extracting keywords from ad hoc clinical questions
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