Creating and curating a terminology for radiology: ontology modeling and analysis

J Digit Imaging. 2008 Dec;21(4):355-62. doi: 10.1007/s10278-007-9073-0. Epub 2007 Sep 15.


The radiology community has recognized the need to create a standard terminology to improve the clarity of reports, to reduce radiologist variation, to enable access to imaging information, and to improve the quality of practice. This need has recently led to the development of RadLex, a controlled terminology for radiology. The creation of RadLex has proved challenging in several respects: It has been difficult for users to peruse the large RadLex taxonomies and for curators to navigate the complex terminology structure to check it for errors and omissions. In this work, we demonstrate that the RadLex terminology can be translated into an ontology, a representation of terminologies that is both human-browsable and machine-processable. We also show that creating this ontology permits computational analysis of RadLex and enables its use in a variety of computer applications. We believe that adopting an ontology representation of RadLex will permit more widespread use of the terminology and make it easier to collect feedback from the community that will ultimately lead to improving RadLex.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Computer Systems
  • Database Management Systems
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Radiology / classification*
  • Radiology Information Systems*
  • Software Design
  • Software*
  • Systems Integration
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Vocabulary, Controlled*