2015-10-06 Terminology Release AG Meeting Notes



Apologies or Absentees


  • Introductory meeting: introduce members, discuss purpose of the AG, introduce proposed topics

Meeting Minutes

Robert Turnbull welcomed everyone and explained that Andrew Atkinson would be co-chair. There was a round of introductions. 

Structure of the Advisory Groups

Robert Turnbull introduced some key points about the new AG structure:

  • AG is not a decision-making body
  • Consensus is not required; Management Team members take advice
  • Acting as individuals; not representing organizations
  • May bring agenda items to the meeting, but will be prioritized according to Management Team priorities
  • Group must make a work plan
  • Group may obtain budget for work items, but budgets are already fixed for 2015 and 2016, would need CEO approval to obtain funding – no guarantees

Dion McMurtrie noted that the idea the group being advisory instead of decision-making and of helping the Management Team seemed to be at odds with the idea of the group running the agenda and developing a work plan. Robert Turnbull agreed that it was unclear, but suggested that they defer that discussion until later in the month.

Conflicts of Interest

Dion McMurtrie: responsible for the release in Australia, so decisions made by the AG could make his job easier or harder.

Steve Emrick: similiar position in the U.S. as Dion.

Mikael Nyström: a Member - Sweden - pays his salary.

Robert Turnbull noted that Liam Coughlan was in a similar position, adding that IHTSDO wanted Member input, so that can be noted and the group could move on. He added that AG members could let him know if they had others, and a register would be established on Confluence.

  • Staff to develop a Confluence Declaration of Interests register

Meeting Format and Frequency

Robert Turnbull said the group would meet face-to-face twice a year and probably monthly by teleconference at other times. The next meeting would be 26-27 October in Montevideo. Steve Emrick and Andrew Atkinson said they would not be able to attend but would call in.

Items for Discussion

Robert Turnbull  said that Andrew Atkinson would brief the group on some of the challenges IHTSDO had been facing. They would be introduced at this meeting just to give the ideas a chance to percolate prior to Montevideo.

Andrew Atkinson then went through the following points:

1. Proposal to simplify/standardize the statuses of the Releases, from Tech Preview, Candidate Baseline, Baseline, Production, etc. to:

  • Alpha (Tech previews)
  • Beta (Beta + Candidate Baselines)
  • Production (Baseline + all Production releases)

2.  Discussion of new Release-specific critical incident policy – a process for responding to issues related to a release (edition, terminology product) that would require the recall and redistribution of a release. Scope includes communication content, steps to be taken, stakeholders to be notified…. Are all incidents critical? We also need to agree on what level of service is required, e.g. if a critical incident occurs within 1 month of a Production release, what response time is reasonable/expected to

  • Agree what needs to be done, and the urgency level
  • Resolve it and implement an amended Release accordingly
  • Communicate decisions/actions to everyone (plus who this needs to be communicate to)
  • Post-release follow-up of release notes or other means of communicating new known issues to the user base.


3. Versioning of Release files e.g. Alpha release as 0.1, Member release as 1.0, etc. (important due to the broadening of the product portfolio).

4. Proposed move of Release notes from inside the release package to a Confluence page – we would still include the link to the Confluence page in the release package, inside the Readme file.


5. Review of authentication for new releast distribution system (moving from Collabnet) – 3 levels:

  • Unrestricted other than requiring IHTSDO Confluence login (for Tech Previews without License restrictions only)
  • Restricted (by person, for all Product Releases – people who are allowed to view/download each release is decided on a product by product basis)
  • Private (internal IHTSDO staff use only) (more to start allow to preempt the release formats and things ready to go but haven’t been completed, like PART of a release, when remainder of relase package can putlish and switch it over to the Restricted one. So not to keep things hidden, just to allow a more effiecient process.

Mikael Nyström asked about the restriction levels. Andrew Atkinson explained that general documentation on the website would be completely open. Some documents specific to releases would be on Confluence, such as release notes, licensing statements, known issues, etc., and they would be restricted to whoever was allowed access, depending on the licensing agreements. Steve Emrick asked how that would affect or not affect what Members are supposed to do, like releasing release notes? Would NRCs have to put everything on Confluence? Andrew Atkinson replied that NRCs could continue to distribute as per their current distribution systems, but this would affect how IHTSDO distributes the materials to the Members in the first place. He said it would require more discussion in the AG. For example, would IHTSDO need to distribute on Confluence and in a Word document? That was exactly the kind of thing the AG needed to discuss.

6. Whether or not to create a new Module into which to move, for example, the segregated GMDN Map release (the use of module identifier) (related to MF work item?)

Andrew Atkinson said this would be part of a wider discussion on modules, and GMDN was an example. Modules were often not used at all and not used effectively.

7. Renaming the International Edition Beta release package as “x…” in order to distinguish it from the final Member release in SRS/RVF (and therefore provide unique package names for correct archiving in S3).

Steve Emrick asked if X was a standard, why not Alpha or Beta? Andrew Atkinson said no, x was just something IHTSDO had used and, so far as he knew, not an industry standard, but changing the prefix itself could have an even larger impact.

Dion McMurtrie suggested combining it into a topic about file naming conventions and packaging conventions for SCT. Andrew Atkinson agreed. Robert Turnbull added “review naming convention, consider adding a packaging convention” to this item. Andrew Atkinson said a lot of the proposals would require a change to the TIG, so it was a good idea to group them all together as proposals for changes to the Release package. He said he would send out a document about that ahead of the Uruguay meetings. 

  • Andrew Atkinson to send AG a document on naming conventions and packing conventions.  

8. Discussion of the creation of a Process for the removal of a product/subset from an edition – for example, the removal of a subset of the International Edition into it’s own separate package (guidance, etc.).

9. Identification of potential issues (for ourselves, and for Members/Affiliates) inherent with our proposed move to continuous delivery, e.g. Release containing multiple effective times, etc.

10. Review of document “SNOMED CT Identifiers v1.0.pdf”

11. Expressions as a means to pre-coordinated “codes”

12. Recent Member request – “In connection with the January release Denmark suggested that it could be useful to have the content divided into those groups of changes that IHTSDO describes in chapter 2 of the SNOMED CT International Release – July 2015 Release Notes e.g. 2.2.10 Diagnostic Imaging Procedures and 2.2.11 Convergent Medical Terminologies (CMT) to show the concrete concepts/descriptions that have been added.”

Steve Emrick asked about prioritization of all of those topics. Robert Turnbull said he and Andrew Atkinson would work on that before Uruguay, but they would value input from the AG. Steve Emrick  suggested asking the group to rank them.

Dion McMurtrie asked about organization of the documents. Trello? Wiki? Robert Turnbull said he was flexible and appreciated preferences from the group. Andrew Atkinson said he preferred Confluence because the distribution system would be moving there, so it make sense to iron out any issues there and get used to working with it. Dion McMurtrie said he preferred Wiki for all documentation and collaboration but liked Trello for lists of topics and priorities, treating them like cards.


Robert Turnbull thanked everyone, asked them to send him any other agenda items they wanted on the Uruguay agenda, and adjourned the meeting after one hour and 5 minutes.