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Semantic Integration in Biomedicine
While there are relatively few biomedical ontologies, there are, in contrast, many terminology systems developed for various purposes. Instead of building a medical ontology from the top down (e.g., GALEN), the UMLS has attempted to integrate these terminology systems. Although the resulting Metathesaurus does not claim to be an ontology, we believe it can be used as the basis for building one. The biggest issue here is that the relations useful for organizing biomedical concepts for a given purpose (e.g., information retrieval) may not always be principled or consistent across terminological systems.