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The first step in selecting the set of release files to be imported is to decide which Release Type will be used. SNOMED CT Release Format 2 specifies three distinct Release Types: full release, snapshot release and delta release . These are described in the table below.

The Release Format 2 specification states that:

A SNOMED CT-enabled terminology server must be able to import data from a full release because this is the only Release Type that is required to be produced by all Extension developers. A SNOMED CT-enabled terminology server should also be able to import from other Release Types where these are available as these may allow more efficient updating.

The choice of a particular Release Type depends on the type of terminology views that the terminology server is designed to support and on whether this is an initial import or a subsequent update.

Note: The requirement to be able to import data from the full release does not mean that all terminology servers must provide access to the complete historical set of data provided by a full release. The full release can be selectively imported to used to populate a snapshot view for applications that do not require access to historical data.