A methodology for extending domain coverage in SemRep

Graciela Rosemblat, Dongwook Shin, Halil Kilicoglu, Charles Sneiderman, Thomas C. Rindflesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a domain-independent methodology to extend SemRep coverage beyond the biomedical domain. SemRep, a natural language processing application originally designed for biomedical texts, uses the knowledge sources provided by the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS©). Ontological and terminological extensions to the system are needed in order to support other areas of knowledge. We extended SemRep's application by developing a semantic representation of a previously unsupported domain. This was achieved by adapting well-known ontology engineering phases and integrating them with the UMLS knowledge sources on which SemRep crucially depends. While the process to extend SemRep coverage has been successfully applied in earlier projects, this paper presents in detail the step-wise approach we followed and the mechanisms implemented. A case study in the field of medical informatics illustrates how the ontology engineering phases have been adapted for optimal integration with the UMLS. We provide qualitative and quantitative results, which indicate the validity and usefulness of our methodology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1099-1107
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Domain-independent ontology development methodology
  • Natural language processing application
  • Semantic predications
  • UMLS knowledge sources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


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