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National Cancer Institute Center for Bioinformatics
NCI Metathesaurus Browser 1.0 Release Notes


The NCI Metathesaurus Browser is primarily used to view, search, and retrieve data from the NCI Metathesaurus (NCIm), a database including mappings between 4,600,000 terms from 70 source biomedical vocabularies.

Key features of the NCIm Browser 1.0 include:

  • User interface redesigned to make NCI Metathesaurus (NCIm) content easily accessible to a wide audience.
  • Restructured presentation of terms, definitions, codes, relationships, and other information for each concept with details from each source.
  • Graphical is-a hierarchies for individual concepts, initially restricted to NCIt; hierarchies from other sources will be added soon.
  • Removes most limits on data retrieved.
  • Built on the open source LexBIG Terminology Server.
  • User suggestions for new or modified content are collected using the new NCI Term Form application (, a web form and set of APIs that is also being added to the NCIt browser and other software.
  • Replaces NCI Metathesaurus access via the previous NCI Metathesaurus Browser being retired August 7, 2009.

Important Remaining Issues

There are important known issues in data, functionality and documentation that we are working to address for update releases in the coming months. These include the following:

  • Data: NCI Metathesaurus data were significantly abbreviated in the LexEVS 5.0 implementation. These problems should be fixed with the LexEVS 5.1 release in late 2009. Of particular importance:
    • Relationship data are not consistently stored and linked, and are represented incompletely as described in the browser's Relationship Attribute Help. This also made it impossible to reliably display individual source hierarchies within their broader NCIm context.
    • The display of history data has been postponed until the next release.
    • Other source specific concept data were also only partly loaded.
  • Functionality: Performance problems have been partly designed around but are still an important issue that we intend to fix. The ranking of search results best matches first could not achieve acceptable performance and was made a user option with warning attached. The Relationship and By Source tabs are also too slow. User-settable options and the ability to search other concept data and relationships are needed, and should be part of forthcoming browser releases.
  • Documentation: Online and standalone documentation are still under development.

CORE Product Dependencies

This product (internally) relies on LexEVS 5.0 APIs for access to NCI Thesaurus data. Refer to LexEVS 5.0 for details.

Release History



NCI Metathesaurus Browser v1.0 initial release


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