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Information retrieval in large information databases is a non-deterministic process which needs a sequence of search steps generally. One of the main problems to which the end-users are faced is to parse efficiently their questions into the query language that the computer systems allow. Conceptual graphs were initially designed for natural language analysis and understanding. Due to their closeness to semantic networks, their expressiveness is powerful enough to be applied to knowledge representation and use by computer systems. This work demonstrates that conceptual graphs are a suitable means to model the end-users querieson the basis of the thesaurus and the semantic network of the UMLS project.