The Upload scripts work in concert with the SRB, XCEDE, and the
standardized data hierarchies to put data onto the SRB and link it
to the appropriate database.
Organizing and locating information, both clinical metadata and
imaging information, in a distributed data environment can be
challenging. Because each site in the collaboratory maintains its
own linked data storage, it's very important to develop standards
for how and where the images are stored, metadata descriptions of
what the images are, and how to find them.
To address these requirements the BIRN has implemented standardized
data storage hierarchies on the distributed data grid (SRB). The
data storage hierarchy was designed to be amenable to automated
processing scripts and robust enough to account for differences in
storage requirements across BIRN consortia. Not only the physical
organization of files is maintained but XML based descriptors of
what the files mean to aid in data analysis.
The process of getting imaging information into the standardized
data storage hierarchies, the creation of XML based metadata about
the data acquisition, conversion of scanner specific, proprietary,
data formats into standard "useable" formats, and the linkage of
the data locations within the distributed file system into a site's
human imaging database (HID) are the goals of the data upload
Once the data has been "uploaded" using these scripts any site in
the collaboratory can locate the datasets by querying their local
site's HID database for particular imaging parameters, protocol
specifications, or clinical metadata and download the images for
further analyses. Using this decentralized approach, the BIRN has
put the sites in control of their data while still maintaining
shareability and access to the information.