The homogenization of the Metathesaurus schema and distribution format. Academic Article uri icon


  • The third version of the UMLS Metathesaurus, Meta-1.2, to be released in October 1992, will have a simpler schema and simpler distribution formats than the first two versions, Meta-1.0 and Meta-1.1 released in October 1990 and 1991, respectively. For one thing, it will have only a single kind of entry (Concept), rather than three (Concept, Related, and Synonym). Further, the Relational Format, will consist of four logical relations, or tables, instead of the nearly three score different tables used to represent the same kind of information in Meta-1.1. These four tables will contain, respectively, (1) the names of each concept, (2) the relationships between concepts, (3) attributes of the concepts, and (4) a word-based index into the concept names. We argue that the new schema and formats provide a better conceptual model of the Metathesaurus, and represent the information contained there more uniformly. Even though these changes are incremental and evolutionary, both users and software developers should find the Meta-1.2 significantly easier to understand, and the information contained in it significantly easier to use.

publication date

  • January 1, 1992