Enhanced LexSynonym Acquisition for Effective UMLS Concept Mapping

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;245:501-505.


Concept mapping is important in natural language processing (NLP) for bioinformatics. The UMLS Metathesaurus provides a rich synonym thesaurus and is a popular resource for concept mapping. Query expansion using synonyms for subterm substitutions is an effective technique to increase recall for UMLS concept mapping. Synonyms used to substitute subterms are called element synonyms. The completeness and quality of both element synonyms and the UMLS synonym thesaurus is the key to success in such applications. The Lexical Systems Group (LSG) has developed a new system for element synonym acquisition based on new enhanced requirements and design for better performance. The results show: 1) A 36.71 times growth of synonyms in the Lexicon (lexSynonym) in the 2017 release; 2) Improvements of concept mapping for recall and F1 with similar precision using the lexSynonym.2017 as element synonyms due to the broader coverage and better quality.

Keywords: Natural Language Processing; Semantics; Unified Medical Language System.

MeSH terms

  • Natural Language Processing*
  • Semantics
  • Unified Medical Language System*
  • Vocabulary, Controlled