EVS deals with a wide variety of terminology content, which is produced, exchanged and processed through many different formats, data structures, and interfaces. This requires a variety of specialized terminology tools and systems, able to handle complex data and apply sophisticated logical inference, business rules, and other processing. Many of these requirements are shared with other producers and users of terminology, and where possible EVS works collaboratively with other partners to develop shared, open source terminology tools and technology. Key EVS terminology tools are summarized as follows:
- LexEVS Terminology Server is a collection of software and services to load, publish, and access vocabulary and ontology resources. NCI has provided major support over many years for Mayo Clinic development of LexEVS as an open source tool that is freely sharable. LexEVS is an essential part of EVS operations, and many NCI and external applications, including caDSR, depend on use of the LexEVS server APIs.
- EVS Terminology Browsers – NCI Term Browser and NCI Metathesaurus Browser – are cross-linked, user-friendly terminology browsers designed to meet NCI's internal and public information needs across the full range of EVS content, including support for collaborative content and standards development. The browsers are freely available as open source software, use the LexEVS servers, and have been adopted by others who use LexEVS.
- NCI Protégé editing software is based on Stanford's open source Protégé tool, the development of which was mostly funded through EVS. Protégé is widely used for editing biomedical terminology and ontologies. NCI further developed Protégé plug-ins to meet EVS requirements and business rules, contributing their code back to the community to foster further Protégé development and adoption. The most demanding use is as the editing software for NCIt, but Protégé is also used locally for CTCAE and other editing work.
- Other Tools are primarily used for internal EVS terminology development work, but include important community and open software aspects:
- Term Suggestion: EVS Term Suggestion software is used extensively – both standalone and integrated into the EVS terminology browsers – to get community feedback and contributions to both NCI and EVS partner terminology products. Source code is available for community contributions and reuse.
- EVS Report Writer: EVS Report Writer is standalone software that connects to the LexEVS servers. It is used extensively to support NCI work as well as external partners. Source code is available for community contributions and reuse.
- EVS Value Set Editor is used to create and maintain CTS 2 value set and pick list definitions for loading into the LexEVS server, which resolves the definitions against referenced terminologies. The Editor was initially developed to support internal EVS operational requirements, and is used to generate the value sets currently published by EVS (see NCI Term Browser). Source code is available for community contributions and reuse.
- EVS Mapping Tool supports mapping between term lists, value sets, terminology subsets, or whole terminologies. An initial release supports internal EVS operations, and there is already some external adoption and code sharing. The tool provides a mix of automated and manual methods for creating, editing, and publishing mappings, connecting to LexEVS for terminologies available there and producing XML mapping data files.