Revising the UMLS Semantic Network

In Schulze-Kremer Steffen, Smith Barry & Kumar Anand (eds.), MedInfo (2004)
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The integration of standardized biomedical terminologies into a single, unified knowledge representation system has formed a key area of applied informatics research in recent years. The Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) is the most advanced and most prominent effort in this direction, bringing together within its Metathesaurus a large number of distinct source-terminologies. The UMLS Semantic Network, which is designed to support the integration of these source-terminologies, has proved to be a highly successful combination of formal coherence and broad scope. We argue here, however, that its organization manifests certain structural problems, and we describe revisions which we believe are needed if the network is to be maximally successful in realizing its goals of supporting terminology integration.



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