This video introduces you to the advanced search. You will learn how to use the functions of the search dialog to tailor your search and how to use the search view to examine the results.

This is the second video part of our three-part series about searching. You can find the other videos of this series at:

Once you’ve seen the video, you can find additional documentation about the different ways to search in Snow Owl at:



In this video I will show how to use the advanced search tool we’ll go through the different options that you have to tailor your search and look at the search results in the search view. We’ll also perform a semantic query using ESCG. Before we start with the advanced search let me give you just a quick summary of the search tools that we explored so far.

There’s the quick search which is up here. It’s a global search so if you type in a term for instance “cardio” it will search different terminologies like SNOMED CT, ICD-10 ATC, but also other resources, for instance, there’s a reference set here that has cardio in it and it will also show me the previous choices and the bookmarks.

The other search tool is the filter search and each concept navigator has its own filter search so so the search is limited to the terminology that you pick. If I type in the same term here it will display the results within the hierarchy. It has has the advantage that you can see where in the hierarchy your concept is located. So if it’s more specific further down or more of a general concept.

Both, the quick search and the filter search will show the preferred term. However, the search results also consider synonyms. This is why you have some results that don’t have “cardio” in it, but if I open this concept you will see that one of the synonyms here is cardiospasm. This is why it picked this result as well. So much about the quick search and the filter search.

Now let’s go to the advanced search. You can invoke it by simply pressing this flashlight button in the main toolbar and it will open the search dialogue. There are different tabs here. This is because you can restrict your search to different kinds of ressources. So you can look for SNOMED CT concepts, you can look for concepts in different terminologies, you can look for descriptions. It will bring back all the synonyms and the fully specified names. You can do a search for reference sets which we will talk about in a later video. Depending on what you pick, the user interface will change, so that it makes sense but for the resource. You can also took for tasks or for files. So it’s the most comprehensive search tool, but we will focus today on the SNOMED CT Concepts search. So we will work with this tab here. If I do a search here, there’s the index search and there’s the ESCG query search which we will talk about later, but let’s start with the index search.

You can have your search based on the concept ID, the preferred term, the fully specified name, synonym or other descriptions. So it depends on what you click it will bring back the results and you can have any combination you want to have. You can also restrict the status to active or inactive. The quick search and the filter search will only bring back active concepts while this search tool allows you to search for inactive concepts as well. You can restrict it, and that’s something you can’t do this the other two research tools either, to the top level concept so let’s look for clinical findings, for active clinical findings and let’s type in a term diabetes and simply just hit Search. You see your search results are always displayed in the search view. So whenever you do a search with this tool, your results will be displayed here. Let me maximize this. So these are all the clinical findings that have the term diabetes and you can see there it is a score. It’s sorted based on the similarity score which considers your search profile and the concept usage frequency. There’s the concept ID, the preferred term, the fully specified name and you can see that it’s active because we’re just looking for active concepts. You can sort your results simply by clicking the top of the column and it sorts them alphabetically or the other way around and that works with all of the columns. So you can also sort the score or the concept ID.

You can also filter your results. If I type in diabetic then I just get that the terms back that have diabetic. If you cancel it, then it will display all of the results again. A nice feature in this search view is this little pin button. This will keep this search, it will keep the tab if I click it and pin the search, then it will stay here. So if I perform a new search which I will do now, let’s look for inactive diabetes concepts. I have to choose this one. There is no top-level concept because they are not linked to the terminology anymore. So I have no top-level category here in my search dialog. And let’s do the search here. You see it opened a new tab and all of the search results are now inactive. This is my first search and that’s my second and you can also see the searches here in the search history so if you would like to perform a search again you click this one and it will overwrite the active window with this search. If you don’t want to override it you click this button and that’s your search history again and then you have > Open in New so it would open the search that you pick in a new tab here or you can overwrite it by simply hitting Open or you can remove different searches as well. So you can always go back to the searches that you performed, and then click back and forth. Let’s pin this one again to keep it.

Let’s look at this diabetes search that I did before with 259 results and let’s do this search in the quick search. You see it has 299 results, so there are more results. If I click CTRL-4 it will display more results. The reason is because it also contains the procedures and the situations was explicit context. So not only the clinical findings. This one was restricted to the clinical findings and this one has all concepts that have the term diabetes. With this search you can restrict your search, and with this one you always have all of the results. That’s the difference. Dependent on what you pick a search tool.

You can also use wildcards and Boolean operators to refine your search and I’ll show you how this works. What you probably know is the star, this is the most useful one. It substitutes any number of characters, for instance if I type in dia and Let’s just look for active clinical findings. Then it will show me all results that start with dia. Let’s look at them. You have 862, so there are quite a lot so you do not only have diabetes but you have also diarrhea or diagnosis, so everything that starts with dia. Let’s pin this as well. See now we have already three tabs. If you just type the star without anything it will give you a all of the results back, so if you are looking for all the clinical findings, or all the active or inactive clinical findings or all the fully specified names then you just put in the star. And now of course it’s a little bit longer because it’s a much bigger search. And it should give us all the active clinical findings back and we have over 98.000 but it’s still pretty fast.

Boolean operators. Let’s close this one, so you just close it like this. If you look in our search history, now we already have four different searches that we performed and you can clear the history just like you can do in your internet browser, it works pretty much the same. You won’t need AND because AND is implied so if I type “diabetes mellitus” it’s like typing in diabetes AND mellitus. So it will bring back results that match both diabetes AND mellitus. Let’s do this and here we have diabetes mellitus 179 search results and you see here, it’s always diabetes and mellitus in it and of course you can filter them as well again. Let’s pin it.

If I want to look for terms that contain either diabetes or mellitus, I use OR And now I have more results, you see diabetes or mellitus 246 search history there you can’t see what you were looking for. So it’s quite nice you can see diabetes OR mellitus. This one was just the star. You can see the number of results, you can even see the execution time and these are my different searches.

Another one is the NOT that’s quite useful. So I can do diabetes but NOT mellitus, I want exclude mellitus and that should bring back a lot less and that’s why it’s very quick, it’s only 67 results and there should be no mellitus in it. So it’s all only diabetes. So much about the index search.

What I wanted to show you but I don’t want to go into too much detail is a search, when you do a search for concepts that is based on their semantic meaning and for this you will need the Extended SNOMED CT Compositional Grammar which is ESCG and it looks like this. If you’re already familiar with this. You can type in your own terms, so usually when you open it I already pasted something in here but usually when you open it you have an empty window and if you hit Ctrl + Space, then it will give you different terms. Here in this case it only gives me the operators that are possible now but if it’s an empty windows then you can pick different concepts and the different symbols that you need or of course you can type it in as well but it will have to pick a concept because you probably won’t know the concept ID.

The query I wanted to show you is a query that is looking for clinical findings that have a finding site in the cardiac valve structure and we want to exclude veterinarian terms. This is why we prohibited, ! that’s the sign for prohibiting the nonhuman simple ref set. That’s the sign for ref sets. So we’re looking for non-veterinarian clinical findings related to the cardiac valve structure. That’s already a pretty complicated query that we are doing here and let’s do it. It returns 629 results. So here all of my findings so you can exclude reference sets. It’s quite neat once you know how this works. You can do pretty specific searches with it. I will do an own session about these kind of searches and then I’ll explain little bit more about what the different expressions mean.

If you’re curious, we included in our project explorer already some files related to these kind of queries. There’s a little tutorial which is called “Getting started semantic queries” and it starts with very easy ones, it’s just looking for concepts, then clinical findings, then it gets a little bit more complicated. So you can go through the different examples and run these searches and so you gradually learn how it works and we have also some semantic queries already in there, for instance in this folder Clinical findings. If you click on one of them this is actually the query and you can run it by simply pressing this green button. So you don’t have to copy and paste it in your window here. But we’ll see if this for a later session. That’s all I wanted to show you about the advanced search.