What users say about Instant Text

Using Glossaries as Spellcheckers
— Avoiding Mistakes in Glossaries

by Gail Hall

In a previous article, Mary Morken asked:

Do I remember rightly that Instant Text, like Smartype, has all the medical words in it individually? In other words, it functions like a spellchecker word list as well as a basis for making abbreviations and combining words in phrases? If this is so, then having a basic vocabulary of single medical words would be very important.

And Cindy Rollins replied:

Yes, you are exactly right! Words in an Instant Text glossary appear individually. So if you start typing in an abbreviation for a word you do not know how to spell, - assuming you can guess a few letters - it will automatically be spelled correctly when it is expanded.

Mary Morken further asked:

The big question I've had is how you can avoid mistakes when scanning documents. This prior vocab could function as a spellchecker as you scan. Perhaps you already have that. I just know it's a job to keep up with current vocab and drugs!

The problem of mistakes creeping in can happen with any abbreviation expander that lets the user define short forms and long forms. You can even get mistakes into your spelling dictionary. You just have to be careful about checking the documents thoroughly before using them to create glossaries. I found problems with professionally made lists!

My own experience with using my previous work to create a glossary was that I first used existing reports and was horrified to find I had patients' names and information in my glossary! I did not want that!! So next time I created a special file made up of the bodies of reports with the patient info removed. This worked better for me.

[Another way to avoid getting patient names in glossaries is to compile larger sets of documents while using a higher word frequency. Using a higher frequency also eliminates many typos.]

(All remaining quotes are from Cindy Rollins.)
Since glossaries are automatically compiled from your existing documents, the words will be spelled as they are in your documents. However, you can use an existing glossary as a spellchecker. If you think a word is misspelled in one glossary, you may check it by switching to another glossary that has it spelled correctly.

It should be pointed out that the glossaries are simple text files and can be edited with a text editor. This means you can use the normal copy/cut/paste features of the text editor and do not have to resort to the laborious one-at-a-time method we use in some other abbreviation expander programs.

If you find the word is misspelled in the first glossary, I would suggest editing the glossary so that it is spelled correctly for future use.

If you have WordPerfect, you might even run the spell checker on your glossary, skipping the abbreviations, of course, and remember to save it as a text file. I think other word processors also let you save as plain text.

Another way to avoid this problem will be to utilize other peoples glossaries through the Glossary Exchange on our Web Page. Robert Hill has contributed several glossaries for use.

Even though we will be able to share glossaries as more people use IT, it is still a good idea to run those through your checker just in case an error slips through.

There is a program called the Importer that lets you compile glossaries from other programs such as PRD+, text files, lists, etc., in a slightly different way from the normal way you do it from IT itself.

Gail M. Hall