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Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®)

UMLS - Metathesaurus Vocabulary Evaluation Questions

Below is a list of questions that must be answered before a source vocabulary can be considered for addition to the UMLS Metathesaurus.

  1. Who will the source serve? Will the addition of this source help link currently available electronic resources (patient records, journals, texts, etc.) How?
  2. Is the source authoritative? Is it maintained? By whom? How often? Is there an update model? Would the vocabulary and updates be officially sponsored? By whom and how?
  3. Is the source available in a well-structured, computable electronic form? What is the format? Is a sample set of files and documentation available? Is there a technical contact person for questions about the files? NLM cannot take on printed publications, nor convert them.
  4. Have you examined the UMLS License agreement and resolved any questions about copyright ownership and license restriction levels?
  5. What thesaurus characteristics and principles are used? Are there preferred terms, entry terms, a principled hierarchy? Are there other relationships such as broader/narrower? Are there definitions or other associated information? Are there mappings or connections to other vocabularies? Is it concept-oriented (i.e., organized by meaning)?
  6. How fully descriptive are the terms when seen alone, rather than in the associated context (e.g. when seen as printed in context)?
  7. Will there be many cases where the 'face' meaning of a term is different from the meaning of the same term in other areas of biomedicine?
  8. Who would be available to assist in editing and review? Do they have computer connectivity, equipment, support?

To submit a vocabulary for considersation send your request, including written responses to the above questions, through the NLM Customer Support contact form.