Prototype UMLS REST Service (2015–2020)

To create a local instance (REST web service) of the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) to be used by another Informatics Innovation Unit (IIU) web application (CISP). National Institutes of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine manages UMLS and integrates and distributes key terminology, classification and coding standards, and associated resources to promote creation of more effective and interoperable biomedical information systems and services, including electronic health records.

IIU created a local instance (REST web service) of the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) to be used by another IIU web application (CISP). Specifically, IIU was able to create a quick REST web service using Node.JS with ExpressJS on top of a MySQL database populated using the UMLS’ Metamorphosys tool. CuisByNSTR will return metadata about terms nominally associated with a term you send it (e.g., sending the term “Sex” to the service will return the results “Gender” and “Sexual Intercourse”) along with the Concept Unique Identifier (CUI) and Atomic Unique Identifier (AUI) associated with the UMLS term. This link will help you quickly understand the meaning of these terms, CUI, AUI, etc. Definitions by AUI give you a more detailed definition with an AUI returned along with the CUI. If you want to learn more about this app, please refer to the links below.



IIU Team and Office of Public Health Scientific Services (OPHSS)


  • Web Application Development
  • SQL-compatible database (currently MySQL)
  • UMLS Metathesaurus account to populate database
  • ExpressJS
  • Node.js
  • JavaScript


  • Source code on GitHub.
  • UMLS resource at NIH’s National Library of Medicine
  • IIU team collaboration notes on Confluence.