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The key objectives of this guide are to:

  1. Enhance understanding of the logical design of SNOMED CT;
  2. Demonstrate the feasibility of effective terminology access;
  3. Enable terminology access for practical exercises;
  4. Provide a starting point for further development.


There are three distinct target audiences for this guide:

  1. Designers and developers
    • The guide provides practical examples of the ways in which features in SNOMED CT can be accessed using a widely understood technology;
    • It demonstrates services that designers and developers should consider including in their terminology server developments;
    • It can also be used to inform terminology server requirements for system access to SNOMED CT.
  2. People seeking practical ways to access SNOMED CT content and reference sets:
    • The demonstrator documented in this guide provides ways to access SNOMED CT content and reference sets using simple SQL queries.
    • This type of access can complement the use of a SNOMED CT browser or other specific tools by enabling customizable access to specific collections of terminology content.
  3. Anyone interested in SNOMED CT who is seeking a practical example of accessing the terminology in ways described in other specifications and guides:
    • Although many SNOMED CT tools deliver user-friendly services for well-established use cases, some use cases require customized services that are not readily available from existing tools.
    • For example, the full version of the demonstration database allows queries to be written that report the history of changes that impact a defined set of SNOMED CT components.

Although there are three distinct target audiences, this guide has primarily been written for those with a technical background.

Each section of the guide includes an indication of its applicability to each of these audiences.

Ways of Using this Guide

The guide is designed to be used in any of the following ways to suit the needs of different audiences.

  1. As a set of step-by-step instructions for a practical demonstration project
  2. As a source of ideas and advice to inform other development approaches
  3. As a source of practical examples that illustrate and validate general guidance
  4. As background reading when exploring technical options