Value Set binding

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Revision Alert

This page has content dating from January 2012. The old page of information from the Sept2006 WGM is obsolete, and no longer even remotely correct. This page has been updated in 2016 to show that it is the old binding published in the Core Principles of Version 3 Models document.

For the full specification of Value Sets and Binding, please refer to the Normative Core Principles of Version 3 Models document, published January 2012. This document will be found on the main HL7 page under 'Standards'.

Old and obsolete document from a 2007 ballot cycle may be found at Value Set Definition and Binding Document for historical reference.

Published information related to this from Core Principles may be found at Core Principles Vocabulary Sections

Value Set Binding In HL7 Core Principles of Version 3 Models

The material in this section is intended to clarify the binding technique specified in the Core Principles document.


The binding of terminology to information models is specified in the Core Principles normative specification. The definition includes a rich set of components and controls to enable both the flexibility needed for implementing a standard widely and the precision control necessary for well-defined conformance and predictability. There are a small number of mandatory components for simple use cases, but large number of optional components to handle more complex corner cases.


The key components of vocabulary binding are:

  • A Vocabulary Declaration, metadata associated with a coded model element
  • One or more Value Set Assertions, which is a collection of conformance and constraint parameters for vocabulary
  • Concept Domain, a named semantic category for binding
  • Binding Realm, a coded and named jurisdiction which specifies some terminology binding for that jurisdiction

Vocabulary Declaration

Value Set Assertion

Concept Domain

Binding Realm

Versioning Issues

Binding Strategy for HL7 Terminology and Models

The project defining the syntax and semantics of binding which is in work in 2016 may be found at Binding Semantics Project Working Material