Vocabulary Desiderata: 12 Characteristics of Good Vocabulary
1. Terminology Content - How well does a terminology cover its targeted content area. It should be unlimited in size and have sufficient breadth and depth of content; SNODENT conforms because it was developed for Dentistry and covers the domain of Dentistry to an extent heretofore unseen in any prior dental terminology.
2. Concept Orientation - A concept is the basic element. Is it clear and unique? SNODENT is concept-based and the concepts are both precise and unique.
3. Concept Permanence – A concept is permanent. Once a concept is catalogued within SNODENT, it may be retired but never removed.
4. Nonsemantic Identifiers – The identifier or code number should not have meaning. SNODENT meets this characteristic because the identifiers contain no embedded intelligence.
5. Polyhierarchy – It is possible for a concept to have two or more parent concepts – for example “acute periodontitis” is both a periodontitis as well as an acute inflammatory disease. SNODENT meets this characteristic.
6. Formal Definitions – Definitions that are readily understandable by a non-technical audience. SNODENT meets this characteristic.
7. Reject “Not Elsewhere Classified (NEC) or “Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) designations. All NEC and NOS designations were removed from SNODENT.
8. Multiple Granularities – The terminology must accommodate a wide variety of levels of detail in concepts to meet the widest possible range of needs. (e.g., Malignant tumor of the oral cavity > malignant tumor of the buccal mucosa > squamous cell carcinoma of buccal mucosa). SNODENT meets this characteristic.
9. Multiple Consistent Views – If you’re looking at the terminology in a tree-based view, you should be able to display and navigate to all parents. SNODENT meets this characteristic.
10. Representing Context – There should be contextual relationships or “rules of usage.” Example, a disease should be associated with an anatomic location. SNODENT meets this characteristic.
11. Evolve Gracefully – Terminologies will change with time. All changes to the terminology should be traceable and reproducible. SNODENT’s development has been managed and will continue to be managed in this way.
12. Recognize Redundancy – It is a fact that often the same information can be stated two or more different ways. For instance, there are three tooth numbering systems in use around the world (Universal, International and Palmer Method). SNODENT incorporates all of them and thus meets this characteristic.