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2010 JULY–AUGUST No. 375
July 29, 2010 [posted]
December 03, 2010 [Editor's note added]

Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®) News: Revised License Agreement, New UMLS Terminology Services and Browser, Discontinued UMLSKS, and API Changes

NLM® is working to improve access to UMLS resources. This Fall several major changes will take place that will affect all UMLS licensees.

This is the first announcement regarding the forthcoming changes. Additional announcements will be sent as the changes are implemented, and then licensees will need to take action in order to retain access to UMLS resources. You do not need to take any action at this time; we will notify licensees when the new license request interface is available.

License Interface and License Agreement Changes

As part of the planned upgrades, current licensees will be required to request a new UMLS Metathesaurus® License using the new license request interface. The license will include changes to the SNOMED CT® Affiliate License Agreement (Appendix 2).

During the new license request process, users will be required to create a Username and Password. A new UMLS profile will be established that will allow single sign-on access to UMLS downloads and other resources. Licensees will receive a new license code upon approval of the license request.

There will be a 30-day grace period for licensees to access UMLS resources under their existing (old) license, after which licenses will be deactivated and access to the UMLS with these license codes will no longer be granted. Licensees must transition to the new license code granted under the new license request interface.

Additionally, licensees will see changes to the SNOMED CT Affiliate License Agreement (Appendix 2) that include license fee exemptions for SNOMED CT users in low-income countries. The changes will be detailed in forthcoming announcements.

UMLS Terminology Services and Browser

[Editor's note added December 3, 2010: The UTS beta version was implemented on December 2, 2010. For more information, see UMLS Terminology Services (UTS) Beta Launch.]

The UMLS Knowledge Source Server (UMLSKS), which provides Web access to the Knowledge Sources, will be retired in the Fall. Its features will be incorporated into the new UMLS Terminology Browser, as part of the new UMLS Terminology Services (UTS).

The UTS will provide stable online access to users’ UMLS profiles, the UMLS Terminology Browser, and UMLS downloads.

Your new UMLS profile will provide single sign-on access to all UMLS resources (browsers, file downloads, reporting tools, and profile management). Users will be able to manage profile features such as:

The new UMLS Terminology Browser will incorporate updated versions of these browsers from the UMLSKS:

It will also include a new browser, the SNOMED CT Browser. The SNOMED CT Browser will enable users to search for and display SNOMED CT content, as included in the UMLS Metathesaurus. The search mechanism will use UMLS data and tools to enhance the retrieval.

All UMLS file downloads will be available through the UTS. Username and Password will be required to download UMLS files (UMLS Release, RxNorm weekly and monthly releases, SNOMED CT International and Spanish releases, etc.).


Users will have access to the legacy UMLSKS Version 6.0 (with current Login ID and Password) during the 30-day grace period for obtaining a new license code through the new license request interface. Users will not be able to create new UMLSKS accounts during this time. After the 30-day grace period, users must access UMLS resources through the UTS with the Username and Password created during the re-licensing process.

API Changes

The current UMLSKS Web Services API will continue to be supported with no change in the Web Services Description Language (WSDL), with the following exceptions.

The following methods will not be available in the UTS API:

The following classes will require certain identifiers as input parameters upon construction:

A new Web Services API is in development and will be available for use in the future.

The UMLSKS Version 5.0 Socket Server and RMI will no longer be available once the UTS system is implemented.

Upcoming Webcasts

Webcasts on these new services will be provided when the new license request interface and UTS launch, and will cover:

Questions should be sent to Contact NLM with the subject line "UMLS Upgrades."

Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®) News: Revised License Agreement, New UMLS Terminology Services and Browser, Discontinued UMLSKS, and API Changes. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Jul-Aug;(375):e9.

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