This blog is written by Joe Amlung. Joe is a Technical Advisor for the Regenstrief Institute’s Global Health Informatics team. He has focused on terminology management for several years, particularly by working with the Open Concept Lab (OCL) tools and the OpenMRS and OpenHIE Terminology Services community. He works with community members to help them adopt terminology as part of their work, leading to standardized data for better interoperability.


What is the Smart Dictionary Initiative?

“Smart Dictionaries” is a multi-year initiative that will unlock powerful workflows to help users make the most of advanced terminology features through a simple, intuitive user-interface so they’re better able to leverage curated content like WHO SMART Guidelines, to adhere to best practices, and to reduce administrative burden. For more information, see our previous Smart Dictionaries blog post.

The Smart Dictionary initiative has three key goals:

  • Guided workflows to streamline the complexity of terminology management (e.g. computable guidelines, concept dictionary management, etc.)
  • Seamless integration of FHIR into the TermBrowser
  • Nudging users toward terminology best practices

What is OCLv3?

OCLv3 is the first major milestone in the OCL Smart Dictionary initiative, making significant leaps toward the initiative’s three key goals.

OCLv3 is the culmination of a major research and design project involving OCL’s core team and extended community partners. Outputs of this work include new OCL branding, new Design System and Information Architecture to guide future development and use cases, a redesigned OCL TermBrowser v3, and more. See a snapshot below, and the full working approach is available here: OCL: Evolving by design.

OCLv3 will impact all of OCL’s web assets as follows:

  • An entirely refactored OCL TermBrowser v3 with powerful workflows to help users make the most of advanced terminology features through a simple, intuitive user-interface
  • An improved OCL Terminology Server v3 bundled with the first full release of the OCL FHIR Core (no longer in beta)
  • A new OCL Community Website that makes it easy to join the OCL community and to find the information that you need
  • Refreshed visual design throughout all OCL digital assets, including social media, Youtube, Github, marketing materials (Digital Square Guidebook, Digital Public Goods Alliance, WHO Digital Health Atlas)

Smart Dictionary and OCLv3 Timeline

2023Q2 2023Q3 2023Q4 2024Q1 2024Q2 2024Q3 2024Q4
Smart Dictionary initiative launch OCLv3 Design and Development OCLv3 Launch Smart Dictionary Phase 2
and ongoing OCLv3 support


How can you help?

OCL is driven by the community; as such, we welcome all input and contributions as we enhance OCL’s capabilities, workflows, etc.

  • Sharing of terminology use cases
  • Requirements gathering and discussion
  • Participating in design input and feedback sessions/workshops
  • Code contributions
  • Creating educational materials such as video demonstrations

We have many ways to join and to get started. Introduce yourself on OCL Chat, join in on an OpenMRS-OCL Squad Call, or software developers may want to join our weekly OCL Developer Community Call. Also see our Community sidebar on to see all of the community resources that are available.