The Visible Human Project data sets are designed to serve as a common reference point for the study of human anatomy, as a set of common public domain data for testing medical imaging algorithms, and as a test bed and model for the construction of image libraries that can be accessed through networks. The data sets are being applied to a wide range of educational, diagnostic, treatment planning, virtual reality, artistic, mathematical and industrial uses by over 900 licensees in 27 countries. But key issues remain in the development of methods to link such image data to text based data. Standards do not currently exist for such linkages. Basic research is needed in the description and representation of image based structures, and in the connection of image based structural anatomical data to text based functional physiological data. This is the larger, long term goal of the Visible Human Project: to transparently link the print library of functional physiological knowledge with the image library of structural anatomical knowledge into one unified resource of health information.
Michael J. Ackerman received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in Biomedical Engineering. He is currently the Assistant Director for High Performance Computing and Communications at the National Library of Medicine. He holds an academic appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Medicine at George Washington University and has published over 100 papers and book chapters.
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