Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®)
UMLS® Metathesaurus Source 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.
- Who will the source serve? Will the addition of this source help link currently available electronic resources (patient records, journals, texts, etc.) How?
- 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?
- 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.
- Have you examined the UMLS License agreement and resolved any questions about copyright ownership and license restriction levels?
- 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)?
- How fully descriptive are the terms when seen alone, rather than in the associated context (e.g. when seen as printed in context)?
- 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?
- 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, to:
Head, Terminology QA and User Services
Bibliographic Services Division
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894