The Canon Group is an informal organization of medical informatics researchers who are working on the problem of developing a "deeper" representation formalism for use in exchanging data and developing applications. Individuals in the group represent experts in such areas as knowledge representation and computational linguistics, as well as in a variety of medical subdisciplines. All share the view that current mechanisms for the characterization of medical phenomena are either inadequate (limited or rigid) or idiosyncratic (useful for a specific application but incapable of being generalized or extended). The Group proposes to focus on the design of a general schema for medical-language representation including the specification of the resources and associated procedures required to map language (including standard terminologies) into representations that make all implicit relations "visible," reveal "hidden attributes," and generally resolve ambiguous or vague references. The Group is proceeding by examining large numbers of texts (records) in medical sub-domains to identify candidate "concepts" and by attempting to develop general rules and representations for elements such as attributes and values so that all concepts may be expressed uniformly.