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MIDRIB: Medical Images: Digitised Reference Information Bank

Project web site

Programme area

Contact details
Jill Szuscikiewicz
Computer Unit, St. Georges Hospital Medical School, London, SW17 0RE
Phone: 0181 725 3204 Fax: 0181 725 3583

Project description

as of 24th May 1997


Images are essential to Medical practitioners - A picture provides concentrated, accurate information available in no other way. The field of medicine uses a vast quantity and variety of images, such as X-rays, CTRs, ECGs, ultrasound scans, microscopics slides, MR scans and angiograms for example.

Diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions frequently depends on the production and interpretation of images such as those outlined above. Medical and Healthcare professionals need to be familiar with such pictures from an early stage and will use them throughout their careers.

With the trend towards treating patients in the community without hospitalisation, medical students now have reduced contact with patients and can thus only gain exposure to many medical conditions through the use of images.

However, these images are currently hard to find and costly to reproduce. The images ordinarily in use by medical practitioners are stored individually and in their original raw format (i.e. on microscope slides, paper, film, etc.), and normally kept within their own specialised departments.


MIDRIB will create, maintain and deliver a comprehensive collection of medical images in digital form. These will be for use in teaching and research, in medical and healthcare faculties of Universities and teaching hospitals. The project will draw together the best of existing collections into a coherent resource within a single point of reference. A number of collections, covering a large proportion of medical and allied disciplines, have already been identified at participating and other sites.

As the project matures, we envisage the resource becoming the natural repository for collections of images, produced by individuals and departments throughout the HE sector. This will be accessible from a single World Wide Web site via the SuperJanet higher-education network. Images will also be made available on CD-ROM.


  • A fully-indexed, searchable on-line database collection of many thousands of images
  • A series of on-line tools that will enable users to assemble subsets of images which will form case studies for teaching, research and discussion purposes
  • A number of ancillary products to be used with the images, including on-line slide atlases, overlays and annotations, virtual tours, presentation and authoring templates
  • Workshops and seminars to train members of the medical community to turn their own material into digital form, and to communicate non-subject specific experience and expertise gained during the project to those engaged in similar work in other disciplines. Such areas include:
    • copyright of on-line materials
    • classification of images
    • security of controversial images
    • patient permission
    • a registration procedure which will help to prevent unauthorised access and improper use
    • the technical considerations involved in the efficient acquisition, maintenance and Internet delivery of a very large image database


MIDRIB is located at St George's Hospital Medical School, London and benefits from input from the Wellcome Trust and OMNI.

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