(3:30 PM, Friday, Solis-Cohen Auditorium)
Michael J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Specialized Information Services
National Library of Medicine
"The Visible Human Project"
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has long been a world
leader in the archiving and distribution of the print-based
images of biology and medicine. NLM has also been a pioneer in
the use of computer systems to encode and distribute textual
knowledge of the life sciences. NLM's Long Range Planning effort
of 1985-86 foresaw a coming era where NLM's Bibliographic and
factual database services would be complemented by libraries of
digital images, distributed over high speed computer networks and
by high capacity physical media.
The NLM Planning Panel on
Electronic Imaging recommended that NLM should undertake the
building a digital image library consisting of computer assisted
tomography (CAT), magnetic resonance interferometry (MRI), and
cryosection images of a representative, carefully selected and
prepared male and female cadaver -- the "Visible Human Project
(tm)." The male Visible Human data set is now being made
available through a license agreement with the NLM. A wide range
of educational, diagnostic, treatment planning, and commercial
uses, is predicted. The Visible Human data set and its
associated identification maps will serve as a "Boston Teapot"
for medical imaging, a common public domain data set against
which all medical imaging algorithms can be tested and as a
cornerstone for future sets of related image libraries.