This video shows how local code systems and codes are organised and searched in Snow Owl.

This is the first video of a four-part series about local code systems. You can find the other videos of this series at

Once you’ve seen the video, you can find additional documentation at:



This is the first video of a series about working with Local Code Systems.

Besides the existing standards like SNOMED CT, ATC or LOINC that we are supporting Snow Owl allows developing and maintaining local or national code systems.

Local Code Systems are internal identification schemes that consist of a set of local codes and their associated terms. This could be, for example, a list of interface terms that are used in a clinical application. Local codes can also be mapped to other terminologies and referenced in value sets.

You can either create Local Code Systems directly in Snow Owl or import them from an Excel sheet. I will demonstrate these features in later videos but today I would like to show how Local Code Systems and codes are organized in the Local Code Systems view, what kind of information is displayed in the editor, and different ways of searching for local codes.

When working with Local Code Systems you will use this view. It works similar to the views that we use to browse other terminologies. You can see that it has the same action buttons up here as the other terminology views. Local Code Systems are organized in folders that can be expanded and collapsed by clicking on the triangles or by using these buttons here.

The local codes are indicated by the green icon, by the circle with the C, so these are all local codes while the Local Code Systems have this icon. You can see that I imported two Local Code Systems in Snow Owl. They can be comprised either of a flat list of codes – like the first one here – or they can be a hierarchy like this one. The level of detail is not limited, so depending on your needs more sub-codes can be added, the hierarchy can go as deep as you wish.

Double-clicking an item in the view opens the editor. If I double-click on a code, it opens the editor for the local code, while if I double-click on the folder here, it will display the editor for a Local Code System, which looks different from this one. There’s also the option to link your editor to the view, which is this button. If I press it, then it’s linked, now you see it’s indented and if I open several local codes and then click on the tab, I can see where the local code is located within the hierarchy and I can also see which Local Code System it belongs to.

There is also this view down here for the parents, which goes up in the hierarchy so you can see higher level codes. For example, if I click on “Restaurant manager” I can see that the next level would be “Food and Beverages Services Manager” and if I open it and click even one higher, you can see the Local Code System itself.

Now let’s take a look at the editor for Local Code Systems. The information here is pretty much self-explanatory: there’s a name, a short name which is also used as the display name in the list, there is a unique identifier for the Local Code System, a version, description, two optional fields for the maintaining organization, and you can add comments in this field here.

The editor for local codes looks like this: There is a unique identifier, this can be digits or letters or any combination. The associated term, any number of alternative terms can be added here. For example, this one has two alternative terms. We can also see if the code is active or inactive and if it’s published. This one hasn’t been published yet. If it has been published, the effective date is displayed here.

Searching for local codes works similarly to searching in other sources. The view has a filter where you can type in your search term, for example, “manager”: If I do this, it shows all the local codes with the term “manager” and also the Local Code System that it belongs to. You can also search for a name of a Local Code System here.

We also have a comprehensive search across all resources, which is the quick search. This is this text field up here. If I type in a term, it will not only show Local Code Systems but also SNOMED CT, ICD-10, ATC and so on and in this section there is the local code that has the term “food” and the short name of the code system in brackets. You can also search for an ID, for example, this one will return the code that has this ID and if you mark it and click it, it opens the editor of this local code.

If you want to specify your search criteria you should use the advanced search. This is this button here. You can base your search on a number of different criteria. You have to check this box first and then enter your search term. You can search for code, term, alternative term, active or inactive codes, you can specify an effective time, for example, a time range or you can just look for unpublished codes and you can combine all the different criteria by clicking ALL.

You can also use wildcards or operators, for example, if I look for “manager NOT restaurant” I would have this and then click “search” and the results are displayed down here in the search view: There’s “Catering manager”, so the “Restaurant manager” is not part of this search. If you want to see the editor you just double-click it. This opens the editor and then you can see more information or make changes to it.

In the next video we will create and modify local codes and Local Code Systems. Until then, thanks for your attention. I hope you enjoyed this short introductory video.