This section gives an overview of the different stages of the workflow. Different scenarios are described in the section about Use cases.

Project manager: Assigning a task

As a project manager your role is to create and assign tasks to your team members. The Assignees section of the task editor shows who is involved in the task. When creating a new task, the project manager needs to specify different roles:

The person currently assigned to the task is indicated by a green dot in front of the name. If you created the task, you can change an assignee by overwriting the user name, and saving your change. If your role is author, reporter, or adjudicator you can not change the assigned users. In this case the section is read-only.

Assignee section

Once a task has been assigned to you, you will be informed by email. If you created a query for your tasks, the task will show up in your task list. Please refer to the section about Creating a query to organize your tasks for details. You can update your queries by clicking the Synchronize changes button in the task list.

Author: Working on a task

Activating a task

Once you have decided to start working on a task, you need to activate that task. Only one task can be activated at a time. Activating the task means that you entered the collaborative mode, and the changes you are making are only visible to other users that have the same task activated. As long as a task is activated, all the changes that you are making to the ontology are being recorded and can be reviewed in the review page of the task editor. The review page displays the history of changes that were made to a task, it is not possible to delete information that was recorded there. Modifications will not be submitted to the main repository until the review process is completed, your changes will only be visible for those who are working on the same task and have activated it.

To activate your task click on the circle in the toolbar of the task editor. A frame will appear around the circle indicating that the task is active (see screenshot).

Activated task

Alternatively, you can click the small circle next to the task icon in the task list. The circle will turn purple indicating that the task was activated.

Task list showing an active task

The active task is also displayed in the status bar at the bottom of your screen where you can see the task name and a branching arrow. If you hover over the icon a tooltip will display additional information about the task.

Status bar showing the active task

If you want to pause your work, you can inactivate the task by clicking on the respective icons. Activating a different task will inactivate your current task. This way you can switch between tasks.

Changing the perspective

When activating a task, it's possible to change to the associated perspective. For example, if you are activating a task for Reference set authoring, you can switch to the Reference set perspective. Check Remember my decision to set this as a default.

Switching perspective at task activation

To change the setting for the information dialog go to File > Preferences > Snow Owl > Perspective > Open the associated perspective when creating a new project.

Setting preference for perspective change

Following up with modifications


During editing you get notifications on the bottom right of your screen regarding:

The information includes the date and time of the modification, the editor's username and the related comment.

Change notification message

The commit notification window that briefly displays upon repository changes includes an avatar of the user making the change. For the avatar to appear, it must be registered at with your email address. Once your gravatar registration is complete, your image is automatically displayed in the status bar at the bottom left corner. It also appears in the commit information view next to the information about the changes you committed. You can refresh your image on the Preferences page at File > Preferences > Avatars.

Avatar in commit notification dialog

Commit information view

Whenever a user makes a change on a branch, an automatic comment is created in the commit information view. It displays information about the date and time of the change, the user, the terminology, and the branch number. This way, commits of different users can be reviewed. It also records when a task is promoted to MAIN.

When changes are made on MAIN (e.g. by the administrator) automatic commits are created for the following actions:

Commit information view


When you are working on a task, changes made by other users working on the same task will be transparently synchronized. If this is not possible, such as when you have made some conflicting changes to the same concept, you will receive a notification of the user that made the conflicting change and will be prompted to refresh your editor.

You can manually synchronize your task with any changes that have occurred on the main repository at any time by clicking on the Synchronize button in the toolbar. To see if there are any outstanding changes on the main repository, you can check the review page of the task editor. In addition, Snow Owl's semantic cache is transparently synchronized with remote repository changes when an off-line user connects to a remote repository.


If the synchronization reveals any changes that happened on the main repository and are conflicting with the changes in the task context, you get a notification that lists the affected components. To continue editing or making progress with the workflow you need to revert your changes on the task.

For example, if your task was to create a reference set with some members and the concept that is a referenced component of any of the members was deleted from the main repository, you need to remove that reference to the concept from the reference set.

Completing work on a task

Once you are finished working on your task, the following steps are necessary to push the workflow forward:


Reviewing a task

If your role is a reviewer you first meet the task when it is already in a Fixed state. To push the workflow forward the following steps are necessary

If the reviewer is not happy with the work performed, it can be reopened in the editor for further changes. In this case, the status will change from RESOLVED to REOPENED.

Promoting and closing a task

After a task reached the Verified state it is ready to be promoted and committed into the main repository. You need to click the Promote button in the toolbar. If it is disabled that means that the task has not been reviewed and verified, or that there were changes on the main repository that aren't reflected on the task and you need to synchronize first.

Task editor review page with the Promote button enabled

After a successful promotion the lifecycle of the task gets to the end: the status changed from VERIFIED FIXED to CLOSED, the task is automatically inactivated. From this point it cannot be reopened anymore. On the task list the item will be crossed out.

Closed task in the task list

Dual-independent authoring

Dual-independent authoring means that two or more users complete the same task independently. Once the tasks are completed, a third party (e.g. reviewer) compares the tasks and decides which one will be promoted.

Here are the steps of a typical workflow: The task wizard automatically creates a parent task for the reviewer and two subtasks for the authors.The child tasks are displayed in a hierarchical way (see screenshot). You can use the triangles to open and close the subtasks. The subtasks are automatically assigned to the two different authors.

Task view displaying subtasks

When the authors have completed the task, they can be passed on to the reviewer. Before comparing the child tasks, make sure the parent task is activated and synchronised with the repository. Then double-click on the parent task in the task list to open the task editor. The review tab displays both tasks next to each other. The top part of each task displays a tree view of all concepts changed or created as part of the task. A small icon overlaying the concept's icon indicates an addition (+), deletion (-), or change (delta). Click an item in the tree to display more information about the changes in the table below.

Comparing two subtasks

If you are satisfied with the work and ready to promote, you need to set the status to mark as VERIFIED, and save the status change. This will enable the promote buttons. Click the promote button of the author that you want to promote .This will promote the task to the Main repository and close the parent task. Please keep in mind that the task can not be re-opened again once it has been promoted.

If the tasks are unsatisfactory, you can reopen the task for additional editing. You might want to use the comments section on the task tab to leave information for the editor. Make sure you save your comments before proceeding. Now set the status to REOPEN and save the status change.

An example for dual-independent SNOMED CT reference set authoring with two authors and two reviewers is described in Use case 6.