The Extensible Neuroimaging Archive Toolkit: an informatics platform for managing, exploring, and sharing neuroimaging data.
The Extensible Neuroimaging Archive Toolkit (XNAT) is a software platform designed to facilitate common management and productivity tasks for neuroimaging and associated data. In particular, XNAT enables qualitycontrol procedures and provides secure access to and storage of data. XNAT follows a threetiered architecture that includes a data archive, user interface, and middleware engine. Data can be entered into the archive as XML or through data entry forms. Newly added data are stored in a virtual quarantine until an authorized user has validated it. XNAT subsequently maintains a history profile to track all changes made to the managed data. User access to the archive is provided by a secure web application. The web application provides a number of quality control and productivity features, including data entry forms, data-type-specific searches, searches that combine across data types, detailed reports, and listings of experimental data, upload/download tools, access to standard laboratory workflows, and administration and security tools. XNAT also includes an online image viewer that supports a number of common neuroimaging formats, including DICOM and Analyze. The viewer can be extended to support additional formats and to generate custom displays. By managing data with XNAT, laboratories are prepared to better maintain the long-term integrity of their data, to explore emergent relations across data types, and to share their data with the broader neuroimaging community.