Reengineering Workflow for Curation of DICOM Datasets

William Bennett, Kirk Smith, Quasar Jarosz, Tracy Nolan, Walter Bosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Reusable, publicly available data is a pillar of open science and rapid advancement of cancer imaging research. Sharing data from completed research studies not only saves research dollars required to collect data, but also helps insure that studies are both replicable and reproducible. The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA) is a global shared repository for imaging data related to cancer. Insuring the consistency, scientific utility, and anonymity of data stored in TCIA is of utmost importance. As the rate of submission to TCIA has been increasing, both in volume and complexity of DICOM objects stored, the process of curation of collections has become a bottleneck in acquisition of data. In order to increase the rate of curation of image sets, improve the quality of the curation, and better track the provenance of changes made to submitted DICOM image sets, a custom set of tools was developed, using novel methods for the analysis of DICOM data sets. These tools are written in the programming language perl, use the open-source database PostgreSQL, make use of the perl DICOM routines in the open-source package Posda, and incorporate DICOM diagnostic tools from other open-source packages, such as dicom3tools. These tools are referred to as the “Posda Tools.” The Posda Tools are open source and available via git at In this paper, we briefly describe the Posda Tools and discuss the novel methods employed by these tools to facilitate rapid analysis of DICOM data, including the following: (1) use a database schema which is more permissive, and differently normalized from traditional DICOM databases; (2) perform integrity checks automatically on a bulk basis; (3) apply revisions to DICOM datasets on an bulk basis, either through a web-based interface or via command line executable perl scripts; (4) all such edits are tracked in a revision tracker and may be rolled back; (5) a UI is provided to inspect the results of such edits, to verify that they are what was intended; (6) identification of DICOM Studies, Series, and SOP instances using “nicknames” which are persistent and have well-defined scope to make expression of reported DICOM errors easier to manage; and (7) rapidly identify potential duplicate DICOM datasets by pixel data is provided; this can be used, e.g., to identify submission subjects which may relate to the same individual, without identifying the individual.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-791
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Curation
  • De-identification
  • Image archive
  • Open science
  • Posda
  • Scalability
  • TCIA


Dive into the research topics of 'Reengineering Workflow for Curation of DICOM Datasets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this