The BioMed Image Archive (http://www.brisbio.ac.uk/) has recently undertaken development of a new technical system that will allow owners of biomedical images to deposit these with the archive from their desktops.
The archive has maintained a Web presence since 1997 and is well known to and well used by many in the biomedical community. However, until September 2002, when we received funding from the JISC's FAIR Programme, we were unable to add further images. We are now seeking digital image donations from the teaching community.
We are asking teachers, researchers, ICT and audiovisual staff to consider depositing their collections with the archive. Donors can be certain that their images will be securely stored and easily accessible by bona fide academic users.
While policy is to ensure that the bulk of images in the collection remain accessible to all, the archive is implementing additional security levels for images that are considered to be of
sensitive content which will guarantee that access is restricted to authenticated users only. Copyright of the original image resides with the owner/donor who will continue to have unrestricted access to and use of all images deposited.
We need the images to be in digital format. It is also necessary that the potential donor is the copyright holder of the image. Many institutions maintain that resources (including images) produced by a lecturer during the course of their everyday duties are
owned by that institution. Donors may, therefore need the permission of their institutions to donate images. The archive can advise on copyright issues.
Another important consideration is that of patient consent. If an image depicts or derives from a patient (even in the case of an x-ray or a tissue sample) then we do ask that the permission of the patient involved has been obtained. The project team has carried out extensive research into the area of patient consent and, again, is happy to advise potential donors on current guidelines.
These stipulations may seem draconian, but they have been put in place to protect the privacy and human rights of the patient, to protect the archive and its host, the University of Bristol, from legal action, and to ensure that users of the archive can trust its content and make free use of images without fear of ramifications.
We are also asking donors to provide some simple descriptive text to accompany the images. Without text, not only will potential donors be unable to search for and retrieve images, but they will also be unable to make an evaluative judgement of the value and worth of the image in relation to their intended purpose.
In Spring 2004, the project team will be visiting a number of UK universities to demonstrate the new system. Visits will include a demonstration of how to scan biomedical images, how to import digital images into an image management system, using images with PDAs, and finally how to upload your images into the archive.
We will also be demonstrating how to add descriptive text to images so that they can easily be found by other users. Additionally, we will be discussing the issues of copyright and patient consent.
If you would like to donate images to the archive or would like the project team to visit your department in 2004, please contact us at the address below.
We hope to receive the support of the community in accelerating the growth and scope of the archive. The more images that are donated and shared, the more valuable the resource will become for the whole community.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org