The NCI Thesaurus quality assurance life cycle

J Biomed Inform. 2009 Jun;42(3):530-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2009.01.003.


The National Cancer Institute Enterprise Vocabulary Services (NCI EVS) uses a wide range of quality assurance (QA) techniques to maintain and extend NCI Thesaurus (NCIt). NCIt is a reference terminology and biomedical ontology used in a growing number of NCI and other systems that extend from translational and basic research through clinical care to public information and administrative activities. Both automated and manual QA techniques are employed throughout the editing and publication cycle, which includes inserting and editing NCIt in NCI Metathesaurus. NCI EVS conducts its own additional periodic and ongoing content QA. External reviews, and extensive evaluation by and interaction with EVS partners and other users, have also played an important part in the QA process. There have always been tensions and compromises between meeting the needs of dependent systems and providing consistent and well-structured content; external QA and feedback have been important in identifying and addressing such issues. Currently, NCI EVS is exploring new approaches to broaden external participation in the terminology development and QA process.

MeSH terms

  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • United States
  • Vocabulary, Controlled*