From 2-D electrophoresis to microscopy, much of the data generated in today's laboratories is image-based. Until recently however, there was no way to efficiently search the contents of images and to correlate them with other types of data. To address this problem, two companies have developed systems that bring the full power of the informatics revolution to bear on visual data.

According to Suzanne Mattingly, vice president of marketing at Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Scimagix, up to 70 percent of R&D data exists in the form of images, with much of it stored in disparate, removable storage media that is often difficult to access and use. Scimagix's first commercially available product, the Oracle®/Web-based SIMS™ (Scientific Image Management System), is a database package for the storage, analysis, and mining of annotated experimental image data. SIMS is not an image acquisition product--images are scanned in and stored in the database,...

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