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About SumsDB

Image:SumsAboutImage.jpg NITRC_logo_Listed_Small.jpg

SumsDB (the Surface Management System DataBase) provides access to a growing body of neuroimaging and related data. WebCaret software provides online data visualization for datasets in SumsDB.

Main Categories of Data Based on Data Type and Usage

Atlas Datasets

  • Surface and volume data
  • Structural and functional data
  • Data on cerebral cortex and cerebellar cortex
  • Human data – normal and neurological/psychiatric disorders
  • Nonhuman primate data: macaque, chimpanzee, gorilla
  • Rodent: mouse and rat data

Searchable Stereotaxic Foci and fMRI Maps

  • Published data, curated and customized for data mining
  • Over 25,000 sterotaxic foci from nearly 1,000 published studies

Publication Associated Datasets

  • Underlay key figures in specific online publications:
  • Individual subject data and population data mapped to atlases

Project-Related Datasets

  • From various ongoing projects that serve archival purposes and sharing with selected collaborators
  • Data from FreeSurfer, CIVET, and other brainmapping software besides Caret


  • Documents and associated datasets from tutorials for both SumsDB/WebCaret and Caret.

Data Access and Security

  • SumsDB provides multiple levels of data access and security
  • Free (public) access (e.g., for data associated with published studies)
  • Data access restricted to collaborators in different laboratories
  • Owner-only access for work in progress

Data Organization

  • Download data as individual files or as collections (‘spec files’) customized for offline analysis in Caret


  • WebCaret provides online ‘Caret-style’ visualization without software or data downloads:
  • WebCaret ‘scenes’ facilitate rapid visualization of complex combinations of data
  • Bi-directional links between online publications and WebCaret/SumsDB provide:
  • Links from figures in online journal article to corresponding scenes in WebCaret
  • Links from metadata in WebCaret directly to relevant online publications and figures

Searching and Data Mining

  • Searching and data mining options using SumsDB and WebCaret:
  • Search by data type, filename, associated metadata (text-based search)
  • Spatially based queries
    • Proximity to stereotaxic coordinates
    • Overlap with selected fMRI activations (metric files)
    • Overlap with identified cortical areas (paint files)
  • Searches can be applied to:
    • Currently loaded datasets
    • ‘Processed’ datasets
    • All public SumsDB data
    • Restricted access data
  • Search results can be:
    • Viewed in WebCaret
    • Combined with other loaded data sets
    • Downloaded directly


  • SumsDB and WebCaret on a Linux cluster housed in the Electronic Radiology Laboratory in the Washington University Department of Radiology. * * Automatic data backup and recovery are handled through a Network Attached Storage system.

Citing SumsDB

Use of SumsDB and datasets contained within SumsDB can be referenced in several ways.

Home page

Publications describing SumsDB

  • Van Essen, D.C., Harwell, J., Hanlon, D, and Dickson, J. (2005) Surface-Based Atlases and a Database of Cortical Structure and Function. In: Databasing the Brain: From Data to Knowledge (Neuroinformatics). S.H. Koslow and S. Subramaniam, eds., John Wiley & Sons, NJ, pp. 369-387
  • Dickson, J., Drury, H., and Van Essen, D.C. (2001) The surface management system (SuMS) database: A surface-based database to aid cortical surface reconstruction, visualization and analysis. Phil. Trans. Royal Soc, Ser B 356:1277-1292

Links to Specific SumsDB Datasets

Personal tools
Sums Database