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NCI Enterprise Vocabulary Services (EVS) provides controlled vocabulary that is the semantic base for caCORE, and caBIG® caBIG® tools and collaborations as well as CBIIT Semantic Infrastructure 2. 0. 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 (NCIm), 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 has also developed tools to support collaborative community-based ontology development including NCI Protégé, and is actively seeking subject matter experts from across biomedicine as contributors to BiomedGT.EVS develops and maintains the NCI Term Browser.

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 deploymentcaBIG® requirements. From its beginning, EVS has sought to address the broad spectrum of terminology needs at NCI.


LexEVS 6.0 is the current release of EVS Enterprise Vocabulary Services (EVS). Key features are:

  • Implementation of the draft specification for HL7 Common Terminology Services 2 (CTS 2)
  • Support for mapping associations between terminologies
  • Value set, pick list, and versioning support
  • Authoring API and loader enhancements
  • New OWL/RDF Exporter

Related efforts in support of LexEVS 6.0 include:

  • NCI Term Browser will soon support new LexEVS 6.0 and other features. A test version will be made public in the next few weeks, with final release scheduled for May.
  • Other EVS tools are also being migrated, and a new NCI Value Set Editor is in development.
  • A LexEVS Boot Camp is being proposed for this summer to support migration efforts and new users.

For information about the status of earlier releases of LexEVS, visit the LexEVS home page on the Vocabulary Knowledge CenterFor detailed information about the current release and earlier releases refer to the LexEVS Wiki.

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.


Files from caCORE EVS version 5.x , 4.1.x, 4.0, 3.2.1, 3.1,,, 3.0.1, 3.0 and earlier are made available for download from the EVS Archives. Note that the 4.x and 5.x license terms still apply.