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A Web-accessible Content-based Cervicographic Image Retrieval System
Content-based image retrieval (CBIR) is the process of retrieving images by directly using image visual characteristics. In this paper, we present a prototype system implemented for CBIR for a uterine cervix image (cervigram) database. This cervigram database is a part of data collected in a multi-year longitudinal effort by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and archived by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), for the study of the origins of, and factors related to, cervical precancer/cancer. Users may access the system with any Web browser. The system is built with a distributed architecture which is modular and expandable; the user interface is decoupled from the core indexing and retrieving algorithms, and uses open communication standards and open source software. The system tries to bridge the gap between a user's semantic understanding and image feature representation, by incorporating the user's knowledge. Given a user-specified query region, the system returns the most similar regions from the database, with respect to attributes of color, texture, and size. Experimental evaluation of the retrieval performance of the system on groundtruth test data illustrates its feasibility to serve as a possible research tool to aid the study of the visual characteristics of cervical neoplasia.