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The Editorial Guide describes editorial policies regarding the purpose, scope, boundaries, requirements, concept model, hierarchies, terming, and other policies related to the content in SNOMED CT. It is primarily intended to guide those who are responsible for editing the content of the International Release, but secondarily will be important for those creating extensions. To the extent that there are inconsistencies between the stated policy in this document and the implemented logic-based definitions, these inconsistencies should be resolved through a consensus-based process. For short-term decision-making, the policies in this document should be adhered to. However, this is a working document, subject to change and revision. The intention is to support communication among those who are actively creating definitions, as well as those who are advising, consulting or providing feedback in a variety of capacities.

This document uses a concept- oriented documentation style, rather than a task-oriented style, and therefore it is not intended as a how-to manual on concept modeling or use of any particular editing environment; those task-oriented aspects are to be covered in separate materials.

Please note, any mention of SNOMED CT in this document refers to the latest published version of the terminology.

Web browsable version:

SNOMED CT Document Library:

LINK TO CHANGES in the guide for January 2108:

© Copyright 2018 International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation, all rights reserved.

This document is a publication of International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation, trading as SNOMED International.  SNOMED International owns and maintains SNOMED CT®.

Any modification of this document (including without limitation the removal or modification of this notice) is prohibited without the express written permission of SNOMED International. This document may be subject to updates. Always use the latest version of this document published by SNOMED International. This can be viewed online and downloaded by following the links on the front page or cover of this document.

SNOMED®, SNOMED CT® and IHTSDO® are registered trademarks of International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation. SNOMED CT® licensing information is available at For more information about SNOMED International and SNOMED International Membership, please refer to or contact us at

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Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 - SNOMED CT Purpose

Chapter 3 - Scope and boundaries

Chapter 4 - Requirements

Chapter 5 - Attributes Used in SNOMED CT

Chapter 6 - Hierachical structure

Chapter 7 - Terming and Naming Conventions

Chapter 8 - Editorial Guide Glossary

Chapter 9 - Changes to components

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