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11.11.2017 | Technical Note | Ausgabe 1/2018

Documenta Ophthalmologica 1/2018

ElVisML: an open data format for the exchange and storage of electrophysiological data in ophthalmology

Documenta Ophthalmologica > Ausgabe 1/2018
Torsten Strasser, Tobias Peters, Herbert Jägle, Eberhart Zrenner
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10633-017-9618-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



The ISCEV standards and recommendations for electrophysiological recordings in ophthalmology define a set of protocols with stimulus parameters, acquisition settings, and recording conditions, to unify the data and enable comparability of results across centers. Up to now, however, there are no standards to define the storage and exchange of such electrophysiological recordings. The aim of this study was to develop an open standard data format for the exchange and storage of visual electrophysiological data (ElVisML).


We first surveyed existing data formats for biomedical signals and examined their suitability for electrophysiological data in ophthalmology. We then compared the suitability of text-based and binary formats, as well as encoding in Extensible Markup Language (XML) and character/comma-separated values.


The results of the methodological consideration led to the development of ElVisML with an XML-encoded text-based format. This allows referential integrity, extensibility, the storing of accompanying units, as well as ensuring confidentiality and integrity of the data. A visualization of ElVisML documents (ElVisWeb) has additionally been developed, which facilitates the exchange of recordings on mailing lists and allows open access to data along with published articles.


The open data format ElVisML ensures the quality, validity, and integrity of electrophysiological data transmission and storage as well as providing manufacturer-independent access and long-term archiving in a future-proof format. Standardization of the format of such neurophysiology data would promote the development of new techniques and open software for the use of neurophysiological data in both clinic and research.

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