Microscopy, like most other scientific research disciplines, is reliant on digital data of rapidly increasing volumes.
Conventional microscopy dataset archiving solutions lack capabilities for annotating raw datasets with essential experimental and instrumental metadata. Generally, the link to the experimental metadata, which is usually prepared manually by the experimenter and archived in lab notes is gradually lost, prohibiting further use of the experimental raw data. The experimental raw data files are searchable only by their file name, making it difficult, if not impossible, to locate previous experimental datasets and systematically search archival databases.
Within OMERO lies a comprehensive approach which will generate experiment - and instrument - specific metadata files that are obligatory linked to the experimental raw data at the time of entry into the data base. These write-protected raw data files will rapidly establish a data library and archiving system that is searchable by "Google-type" word and images searches.
This approach will for the first time establish a concept for mandatory annotation of digital experimental data that will maximise the use, re-use and distribution of scientific raw data and experimental information within the expert community, and will provide a reliable link to published scientific data from the original experimental information.