An overview of MetaMap: historical perspective and recent advances

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2010 May-Jun;17(3):229-36. doi: 10.1136/jamia.2009.002733.


MetaMap is a widely available program providing access to the concepts in the unified medical language system (UMLS) Metathesaurus from biomedical text. This study reports on MetaMap's evolution over more than a decade, concentrating on those features arising out of the research needs of the biomedical informatics community both within and outside of the National Library of Medicine. Such features include the detection of author-defined acronyms/abbreviations, the ability to browse the Metathesaurus for concepts even tenuously related to input text, the detection of negation in situations in which the polarity of predications is important, word sense disambiguation (WSD), and various technical and algorithmic features. Near-term plans for MetaMap development include the incorporation of chemical name recognition and enhanced WSD.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval*
  • Unified Medical Language System / history
  • Unified Medical Language System / trends*
  • United States