Skip Navigation Bar

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

NLM logo

Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®)

Sample UMLS Metathesaurus in Microsoft Access®

This document is a guide to loading an RRF subset of the UMLS Metathesaurus into an empty Microsoft Access (MS Access®) database. These operations must be performed on a machine running Microsoft Windows operating system with the MS Access database product installed.

Create directory of output files

For information on creating a subset, see the "Create a Default Subset” Tutorial.

In the UMLS Metathesaurus, the Configuration NLM Data Format Window displays tabs for 5 options: Input Options, Output Options, Source List, Precedence, and Suppressibility.

To generate the necessary files and scripts, make the following selections when creating a subset with MetamorphoSys:

Click on Output Options Tab.

  • For Destination , system automatically creates subdirectory in the directory of UMLS files.
  • In the “Write Database Load Scripts” section: Select the MS Access database.
  • In the “Prepend Unicode BOM characters to output files”:
    • Select the “Add Unicode BOM characters to output files” checkbox.
    • Select “UTF-16LE” from the “Select the character encoding” pick- list.

Loading Metathesaurus subset in MS Access

When you have completed configuring your Metathesaurus subset, go to the menu bar at the top of the screen; select 'Done', and then 'Begin Subset'.

Configuring and Running The Load Script

You will be prompted to save your configuration. Name your configuration file, which will be stored in the destination META directory. This file documents your configuration choices, and can be used as the starting point for a later customization using the Customize My Subset option on the Welcome screen.

* The RRF subset of the UMLS Metathesaurus must be less than 2GB total size, as this is the upper limit to MS Access databases.

Configuring and Running the Load Script

  • Navigate to your output directory using the Windows explorer.
  • Open the umls.mdb file by double-clicking on it. This file is preloaded with a macro that will load the database.
  • Select "Modules".
  • Select the "ImportUMLS" module by double-clicking on it.
  • Run the "CreateUMLSSchema" macro. If applicable, enable macros (an online search for "MS Access enable macros" can help with this).
    • Any problems should result in an error being reported.
    • Ensure the total data set is < 2GB as this is an upper limit on the size of an MS Access database.
  • umls.mdb is now loaded and ready for use.