NCI Enterprise Vocabulary Services (EVS) provides controlled vocabulary that is the semantic base for caCORE, CORE infrastructure, and caBIG® tools and collaborations. EVS is a project of the National Cancer Institute Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (NCI CBIIT). EVS activities include terminology development, terminology licensing, software development and licensing, and operations support. Projects center on development and maintenance of vocabulary and servers.
EVS develops and provides operations support for two broadly used vocabulary sources for cancer research: the NCI Thesaurus (NCIt), a cancer-focused terminology, and the NCI Metathesaurus (Meta), a mapping of concepts to terms in multiple vocabularies.
EVS also conducts the Biomedical Grid Terminology (BiomedGT) project to enlist participation in developing an open, federated ontology for translational research. EVS has developed tools to support collaborative community-based ontology development, and is actively seeking subject matter experts from across biomedicine as contributors to BiomedGT.
In addition, EVS licenses and serves third party terminology as needed to meet NCI and caBIG® requirements and creates and improves tools for vocabulary development, curation and deployment. From its beginning, EVS has sought to address the broad spectrum of terminology needs at NCI.
Vocabulary Servers and APIs
LexEVS 5.0 is the next generation of EVS Enterprise Vocabulary Services (EVS). In this release, the LexBIG Java API and LexGrid model become the EVS interfaces, replacing the EVS API and the EVS 3.2 model. Release highlights and release notes are available. Because adoption of the LexEVS terminology server is a major change for EVS users, NCI CBIIT is continuing to operate the previous EVS/caCORE 4.x server. The caCORE 3.x APIs and EVS 3.x Grid services will be retired. Refer to the retirement announcement for details.
The underlying software code, object model, use cases, and user documentation are available for use under an open-source license. Developers are encouraged visit the EVS download page for the relevant files and licensing information.
The following Enterprise Architect example files are available.
The EVS Grid Service 1.0 (pointing to the caCORE 3.1 EVS Services) is still available. It will be decommissioned with next major release of the LexEVS (v5.0). Therefore, the EVS Team encourages migration to the LexEVS Grid Service (v4.2) at minimum. As of the 4.1 Release of the EVS Grid Service, the service is no longer part of the caGrid infrastructure and has been deployed as a separate unit. For access to the EVS 4.1 Grid Service, visit the EVS Archives. Note that the 4.x license terms still apply
Since 1997, NCI Enterprise Vocabulary Services (EVS) has provided terminology content, tools, and services to accurately code, analyze and share cancer and biomedical research, clinical care, and public health information. EVS works with many partners to develop, license and publish terminology, jointly develop software tools, and support harmonization and shared standards. EVS provides the foundational layer for NCI's informatics infrastructure, and plays an important role in federal and international standards efforts (see ).
EVS creates, compiles, and cross-maps biomedical terminology needed by NCI and its community. EVS publishes NCI Thesaurus (NCIt) as its core reference terminology and biomedical ontology, as well as NCI Metathesaurus (NCIm), which provides cross-mappings to more than 101 terminologies. EVS also makes available standalone versions of other terminologies and ontologies, as well as many specialized mappings and value sets.
- is NCI's reference terminology and core biomedical ontology, covering some 160,000 key biomedical concepts with a rich set of terms, codes, 127,000 textual definitions, and over 525,864 inter-concept relationships. NCIt combined and extended core NCI terminologies within a scientifically and technically rigorous framework. NCIt is now a broadly shared coding and semantic infrastructure resource – over half of NCIt concepts include content explicitly tagged by one or more EVS partners (see the ).
- provides a broad, concept-based mapping of terms from over 101 biomedical terminologies, whose 8,000,000 terms are mapped to 3,600,000 concepts representing their shared meanings. NCIm contains most terminologies used by NCI for clinical care, translational and basic research, and provides a rich source of definitions, synonyms, codes, and other information. NCIm starts from a subset of NLM's UMLS Metathesaurus, and modifies and extends it with many additional sources.
- : EVS licenses, processes and makes available individually through EVS systems, many other terminologies of special interest to NCI and the research community. EVS has helped create, harmonize with, and publish several of these terminologies. publishes all terminologies hosted by NCI EVS in an integrated environment, providing search, cross-links, and a user friendly interface to ICD-9-CM, CTCAE, MedDRA, SNOMED CT, NDF-RT, GO, and many other terminologies and ontologies used by NCI and its partners.
- : Pairwise mappings between several supported terminologies have also been created and published to support data translation and cross-reference. As with standalone terminologies above, such mappings generally reflect special EVS community interests and collaborations.
- and Data Standards: EVS works with many partners to create and support standardized terminology for biomedical coding. Hundreds of NCIt subsets and other code lists are maintained by EVS, and most are now available as CTS 2 value sets following the draft . In caDSR, they provide a pre-curated standard set of meanings for use by metadata curators. More than 1300 value sets are currently defined in EVS, most as subsets of NCIt covering a range of standards from many EVS partners. Key EVS supported terminology standards include:
: EVS is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop and support controlled terminology in several areas. More than 25,000 FDA terms and codes are stored in NCIt.
: The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) -- an international, non-profit organization that develops and supports global data standards for medical research -- has chosen EVS as its terminology partner.
: The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) creates and promotes the transfer of data related to medications, supplies, and services through the development of standards and industry guidance, and now uses NCIt in two of its standards.
: The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and EVS are working with numerous contributors from national and international academic, clinical and research institutions to provide standardized terminology for coding pediatric clinical trials and other research activities.
Making these terminology resources more easily available, mapping between them, harmonizing coding standards, and promoting agreement on best practices, are all core EVS priorities.