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      VIRMISCO – The Virtual Microscope Slide Collection

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          Abstract

          Abstract

          Digitisation allows scientists rapid access to research objects. For transparent to semi-transparent three-dimensional microscopic objects, such as microinvertebrates or small body parts of organisms, available databases are scarce. Most mounting media used for permanent microscope slides deteriorate after some years or decades, eventually leading to total damage and loss of the object. However, restoration is labour-intensive, and often the composition of the mounting media is not known. A digital preservation of important material, especially types, is important and an urgent need. The Virtual Microscope Slide Collection – VIRMISCO project has developed recommendations for taking microscopic image stacks of three-dimensional objects, depositing and presenting such series of digital image files or z-stacks as an online platform. The core of VIRMISCO is an online viewer, which enables the user to virtually focus through an object online as if using a real microscope. Additionally, VIRMISCO offers features such as search, rotating, zooming, measuring, changing brightness or contrast, taking snapshots, leaving feedback as well as downloading complete z-stacks as jpeg files or video file. The open source system can be installed by any institution and can be linked to common database or images can be sent to the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz. The benefits of VIRMISCO are the preservation of important or fragile material, to avoid loan, to act as a digital archive for image files and to allow determination by experts from the distance, as well as providing reference libraries for taxonomic research or education and providing image series as online supplementary material for publications or digital vouchers of specimens of molecular investigations are relevant applications for VIRMISCO.

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          Overview of telepathology, virtual microscopy, and whole slide imaging: prospects for the future.

          Telepathology, the practice of pathology at a long distance, has advanced continuously since 1986. Today, fourth-generation telepathology systems, so-called virtual slide telepathology systems, are being used for education applications. Both conventional and innovative surgical pathology diagnostic services are being designed and implemented as well. The technology has been commercialized by more than 30 companies in Asia, the United States, and Europe. Early adopters of telepathology have been laboratories with special challenges in providing anatomic pathology services, ranging from the need to provide anatomic pathology services at great distances to the use of the technology to increase efficiency of services between hospitals less than a mile apart. As to what often happens in medicine, early adopters of new technologies are professionals who create model programs that are successful and then stimulate the creation of infrastructure (ie, reimbursement, telecommunications, information technologies, and so on) that forms the platforms for entry of later, mainstream, adopters. The trend at medical schools, in the United States, is to go entirely digital for their pathology courses, discarding their student light microscopes, and building virtual slide laboratories. This may create a generation of pathology trainees who prefer digital pathology imaging over the traditional hands-on light microscopy. The creation of standards for virtual slide telepathology is early in its development but accelerating. The field of telepathology has now reached a tipping point at which major corporations now investing in the technology will insist that standards be created for pathology digital imaging as a value added business proposition. A key to success in teleradiology, already a growth industry, has been the implementation of standards for digital radiology imaging. Telepathology is already the enabling technology for new, innovative laboratory services. Examples include STAT QA surgical pathology second opinions at a distance and a telehealth-enabled rapid breast care service. The innovative bundling of telemammography, telepathology, and teleoncology services may represent a new paradigm in breast care that helps address the serious issue of fragmentation of breast cancer care in the United States and elsewhere. Legal and regulatory issues in telepathology are being addressed and are regarded as a potential catalyst for the next wave of telepathology advances, applications, and implementations.
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            Virtual microscopy in pathology education.

             Fred R. Dee (2009)
            Technology for acquisition of virtual slides was developed in 1985; however, it was not until the late 1990s that desktop computers had enough processing speed to commercialize virtual microscopy and apply the technology to education. By 2000, the progressive decrease in use of traditional microscopy in medical student education had set the stage for the entry of virtual microscopy into medical schools. Since that time, it has been successfully implemented into many pathology courses in the United States and around the world, with surveys indicating that about 50% of pathology courses already have or expect to implement virtual microscopy. Over the last decade, in addition to an increasing ability to emulate traditional microscopy, virtual microscopy has allowed educators to take advantage of the accessibility, efficiency, and pedagogic versatility of the computer and the Internet. The cost of virtual microscopy in education is now quite reasonable after taking into account replacement cost for microscopes, maintenance of glass slides, and the fact that 1-dimensional microscope space can be converted to multiuse computer laboratories or research. Although the current technology for implementation of virtual microscopy in histopathology education is very good, it could be further improved upon by better low-power screen resolution and depth of field. Nevertheless, virtual microscopy is beginning to play an increasing role in continuing education, house staff education, and evaluation of competency in histopathology. As Z-axis viewing (focusing) becomes more efficient, virtual microscopy will also become integrated into education in cytology, hematology, microbiology, and urinalysis.
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              No specimen left behind: industrial scale digitization of natural history collections

              Abstract Traditional approaches for digitizing natural history collections, which include both imaging and metadata capture, are both labour- and time-intensive. Mass-digitization can only be completed if the resource-intensive steps, such as specimen selection and databasing of associated information, are minimized. Digitization of larger collections should employ an “industrial” approach, using the principles of automation and crowd sourcing, with minimal initial metadata collection including a mandatory persistent identifier. A new workflow for the mass-digitization of natural history museum collections based on these principles, and using SatScan® tray scanning system, is described.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Zookeys
                Zookeys
                ZooKeys
                ZooKeys
                Pensoft Publishers
                1313-2989
                1313-2970
                2018
                7 March 2018
                : 741
                : 271-282
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz, Görlitz, Germany
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Axel Christian ( axel.christian@ 123456senckenberg.de )

                Academic editor: P. Stoev

                Article
                10.3897/zookeys.741.22284
                5904399
                Peter Decker, Axel Christian, Willi E.R. Xylander

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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                Research Article

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