New Features

Worldwide availability of Snow Owl

We have had many requests from academic users and from users in countries considering adoption of SNOMED CT as a national standard for access to Snow Owl. Although we've always wanted to make Snow Owl available around the world, IHTSDO licensing restrictions had required us to limit access to IHTSDO member countries only.

We're pleased to announce that IHTSDO has clarified their distribution restrictions in Guidance on Provision of Publicly Available SNOMED CT Browsers and Related Services, which makes it possible for us to distribute Snow Owl worldwide. This agreement restricts your use of SNOMED CT (particularly in non-Member countries), so please refer to the IHTSDO license agreement for additional details. This agreement is displayed when first installing Snow Owl and always available under the Help > License Information > IHTSDO License Agreement option.

IHTSDO Licensing Information

Getting Started with Snow Owl guide

We've added a new Getting Started guide to provide a (hopefully) gentle introduction to Snow Owl. You can access it via Help > Help Contents.

Getting Started With Snow Owl

Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical code sorting

Based on customer feedback, we've slightly changed the way that we display Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) codes. Now the code appears next to the description directly within the ATC navigator view.

ATC view

Selective enabling of quick search providers

You can now right-click the quick search icon in the main toolbar to choose the search providers to be included in the search. You can use this to omit providers that you're not interested in.

Selecting the active quick search providers

Query language supports unions

We've added an extension to the Extended SNOMED CT Compositional Grammar / TermInfo language to more easily support queries that include multiple reference sets. The UNION operator now lets you specify multiple reference sets or concepts.

Combining an existing reference set with a semantic query

Automated mapping relevancy

The automap feature now uses the active search profile to identify more relevant suggested mappings. For example, if you're mapping an in-house list of cardiology codes, you can activate the built-in Cardiology search profile (Preferences > Snow Owl > Search Profiles > Cardiology) to increase the relevancy of the matched terms.

Cardiology search profile

Improved manual mapping

When automatic mapping fails to locate a match, the manual mapping will display approximate matches for you to choose from.

For example, in the Project Explorer view:

  1. Expand the B2i examples project.
  2. Open the Diagnosis examples from local system.automap file in the Mappings folder.
  3. Click the automap button
  4. Column of the source values: Label
  5. Top level concept: Clinical finding
  6. Press OK to start the automapping.
  7. Double-click the tab that reads Diagnosis examples from local system.automap to maximize the mapping editor.
  8. Note that impacted ear wax didn't find a match in SNOMED CT. Click the ellipsis (...) to display approximate matches (see screenshot).
  9. The first SNOMED CT suggestion is Impacted cerumen. That's what we're looking for, so hit return to select it.

Approximate matches for unmapped term

Concept model improvements

This release includes updated concept model rules to better reflect the intent of the draft IHTSDO concept model. We have also added the concept model to our semantic network, which improves the performance throughout Snow Owl's concept and reference set editors.

Concept model rule for procedure devices

Concept origin display

Concepts can now indicate their module in the SNOMED CT navigator and in SNOMED CT reference sets. We are currently using this feature only on national extensions, which we identify with a small version of the national extension flag. In Singapore, for example, concepts in both the SNOMED CT-SG module and the Singapore Drug Dictionary module will show a miniature Singapore flag on the top right of the concept icon.

Singapore and B2i flags indicate the refset provenance

We've reordered the advanced searches (available from the toolbar or the Search menu) so that the SNOMED CT searches appear first. We've also changed the default settings as shown in the image below. If you make changes to these settings, your changes will be preserved on your next search.

Default search settings

Task management simplification

The user interface for task management has been simplified.

Task editor

Terminology and mapping updates

Snow Owl's authoring perspective

SNOMED CT July 2012 Release

Snow Owl now ships by default with the July 31, 2012 release of SNOMED CT.

SNOMED CT to ICD-10 Mapping August 2012 Release

Snow Owl also includes the August 1, 2012 release of the SNOMED CT to ICD-10 mapping, which was developed collaboratively between IHTSDO and the World Health Organization. This release is a technology preview of the complete mapping activity planned for the project's Phase I. For additional details or to provide feedback, please see

SNOMED CT International Medical Devices August 2012 Release

This release includes the first technology preview based on the IHTSDO and GMDNA (Global Medical Device Nomenclature Agency) collaboration.

The release notes for the technology preview solicit feedback as follows:

All interested parties are encouraged to feedback on this Technology Preview. Feedback can be sent directly to the IHTSDO via using ‘SNOMED CT Medical Devices Project’ as the subject line.


We've added the Australian Modification of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision to the list of supported terminologies and ontologies in Snow Owl. Due to licensing restrictions, we are unable to distribute ICD-10-AM, but you can import it directly from the release zip file.


Snow Owl news

You can now keep abreast of the latest Snow Owl and B2i news on the welcome page. The links will take you to our Facebook pages where you can see more of the folks building Snow Owl.

If you close the welcome page, you can always return to it by selecting Help > Welcome.

Welcome page