Data dictionary services in XNAT and the Human Connectome Project

Rick Herrick, Michael McKay, Timothy Olsen, William Horton, Mark Florida, Charles J. Moore, Daniel S. Marcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The XNAT informatics platform is an open source data management tool used by biomedical imaging researchers around the world. An important feature of XNAT is its highly extensible architecture: users of XNAT can add new data types to the system to capture the imaging and phenotypic data generated in their studies. Until recently, XNAT has had limited capacity to broadcast the meaning of these data extensions to users, other XNAT installations, and other software. We have implemented a data dictionary service for XNAT, which is currently being used on ConnectomeDB, the Human Connectome Project (HCP) public data sharing website. The data dictionary service provides a framework to define key relationships between data elements and structures across the XNAT installation. This includes not just core data representing medical imaging data or subject or patient evaluations, but also taxonomical structures, security relationships, subject groups, and research protocols. The data dictionary allows users to define metadata for data structures and their properties, such as value types (e.g., textual, integers, floats) and valid value templates, ranges, or field lists. The service provides compatibility and integration with other research data management services by enabling easy migration of XNAT data to standards-based formats such as the Resource Description Framework (RDF), JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), and Extensible Markup Language (XML). It also facilitates the conversion of XNAT's native data schema into standard neuroimaging vocabularies and structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Issue numberJULY
StatePublished - Jul 3 2014


  • Human computer interaction
  • Human connectome
  • Ontologies
  • Publishing
  • Translations
  • XNAT


Dive into the research topics of 'Data dictionary services in XNAT and the Human Connectome Project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this