The conceptual complexity of a domain can make it difficult for users of information systems to comprehend and interact with the knowledge embedded in those systems. The Unified Medical Language System ® (UMLS) currently integrates over 730, 000 biomedical concepts from more than fifty biomedical vocabularies. The UMLS semantic network reduces the complexity of this construct by grouping concepts according to the semantic types that have been assigned to them. For certain purposes, however, an even smaller and coarser-grained set of semantic type groupings may be desirable. In this paper, we discuss our approach to creating such a set. We present six basic principles, and then apply those principles in aggregating the existing 134 semantic types into a set of 15 groupings. We present some of the difficulties we encountered and the consequences of the decisions we have made. We discuss some possible uses of the semantic groups, and we conclude with implications for future work.
IOS Press, Inc.
6751 Tepper Drive
Clifton, VA 20124
Tel.: +1 703 830 6300
Fax: +1 703 830 2300 firstname.lastname@example.org
(Corporate matters and books only) IOS Press c/o Accucoms US, Inc.
For North America Sales and Customer Service
West Point Commons
Lansdale PA 19446
Tel.: +1 866 855 8967
Fax: +1 215 660 5042 email@example.com