Something New and Different: The Unified Medical Language System

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2022 Feb 1:288:100-112. doi: 10.3233/SHTI210985.


Donald A.B. Lindberg M.D. arrived at the U.S. National Library of Medicine in 1984 and quickly launched the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) research and development project to help computer understand biomedical meaning and to enable retrieval and integration of information from disparate electronic sources, e.g., patient records, biomedical literature, knowledge bases. This chapter focuses on how Lindberg's thinking, preferred ways of working, and decision-making guided UMLS goals and development and on what made the UMLS markedly "new and different" and ahead of its time.

Keywords: Donald A.B. Lindberg M.D.; U.S. National Library of Medicine; Unified Medical Language System.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Knowledge Bases*
  • National Library of Medicine (U.S.)
  • Unified Medical Language System*
  • United States