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Appendix IX: Entities

This section compiles the entities (key-value pairs) described throughout this specification, and describes each.

A general introduction to entities is given in the section on file name structure.

The ordering of entities and whether it is allowed, OPTIONAL, or REQUIRED for each is given in the Entity Table.

sub

Full name: Subject

Format: sub-<label>

Definition: A person or animal participating in the study.

ses

Full name: Session

Format: ses-<label>

Definition: A logical grouping of neuroimaging and behavioral data consistent across subjects. Session can (but doesn't have to) be synonymous to a visit in a longitudinal study. In general, subjects will stay in the scanner during one session. However, for example, if a subject has to leave the scanner room and then be re-positioned on the scanner bed, the set of MRI acquisitions will still be considered as a session and match sessions acquired in other subjects. Similarly, in situations where different data types are obtained over several visits (for example fMRI on one day followed by DWI the day after) those can be grouped in one session. Defining multiple sessions is appropriate when several identical or similar data acquisitions are planned and performed on all -or most- subjects, often in the case of some intervention between sessions (for example, training).

sample

Full name: Sample

Format: sample-<label>

Definition: A sample pertaining to a subject such as tissue, primary cell or cell-free sample. The sample-<label> key/value pair is used to distinguish between different samples from the same subject. The label MUST be unique per subject and is RECOMMENDED to be unique throughout the dataset.

task

Full name: Task

Format: task-<label>

Definition: Each task has a unique label that MUST only consist of letters and/or numbers (other characters, including spaces and underscores, are not allowed). Those labels MUST be consistent across subjects and sessions.

acq

Full name: Acquisition

Format: acq-<label>

Definition: The acq-<label> key/value pair corresponds to a custom label the user MAY use to distinguish a different set of parameters used for acquiring the same modality. For example this should be used when a study includes two T1w images - one full brain low resolution and and one restricted field of view but high resolution. In such case two files could have the following names: sub-01_acq-highres_T1w.nii.gz and sub-01_acq-lowres_T1w.nii.gz, however the user is free to choose any other label than highres and lowres as long as they are consistent across subjects and sessions. In case different sequences are used to record the same modality (for example, RARE and FLASH for T1w) this field can also be used to make that distinction. At what level of detail to make the distinction (for example, just between RARE and FLASH, or between RARE, FLASH, and FLASHsubsampled) remains at the discretion of the researcher.

ce

Full name: Contrast Enhancing Agent

Format: ce-<label>

Definition: The ce-<label> key/value can be used to distinguish sequences using different contrast enhanced images. The label is the name of the contrast agent. The key ContrastBolusIngredient MAY also be added in the JSON file, with the same label.

trc

Full name: Tracer

Format: trc-<label>

Definition: The trc-<label> key/value can be used to distinguish sequences using different tracers. The key TracerName MUST also be included in the associated JSON file, although the label may be different.

rec

Full name: Reconstruction

Format: rec-<label>

Definition: The rec-<label> key/value can be used to distinguish different reconstruction algorithms (for example ones using motion correction).

dir

Full name: Phase-Encoding Direction

Format: dir-<label>

Definition: The dir-<label> key/value can be set to an arbitrary alphanumeric label (for example, dir-LR or dir-AP) to distinguish different phase-encoding directions.

run

Full name: Run

Format: run-<index>

Definition: If several scans with the same acquisition parameters are acquired in the same session, they MUST be indexed with the run-<index> entity: _run-1, _run-2, _run-3, and so on (only nonnegative integers are allowed as run labels).

If different entities apply, such as a different session indicated by ses-<label>, or different acquisition parameters indicated by acq-<label>, then run is not needed to distinguish the scans and MAY be omitted.

mod

Full name: Corresponding Modality

Format: mod-<label>

Definition: The mod-<label> key/value pair corresponds to modality label for defacing masks, for example, T1w, inplaneT1, referenced by a defacemask image. For example, sub-01_mod-T1w_defacemask.nii.gz.

echo

Full name: Echo

Format: echo-<index>

Definition: If files belonging to an entity-linked file collection are acquired at different echo times, the _echo-<index> key/value pair MUST be used to distinguish individual files. This entity represents the EchoTime metadata field. Please note that the <index> denotes the number/index (in the form of a nonnegative integer), not the EchoTime value which needs to be stored in the field EchoTime of the separate JSON file.

flip

Full name: Flip Angle

Format: flip-<index>

Definition: If files belonging to an entity-linked file collection are acquired at different flip angles, the _flip-<index> key/value pair MUST be used to distinguish individual files. This entity represents the FlipAngle metadata field. Please note that the <index> denotes the number/index (in the form of a nonnegative integer), not the FlipAngle value which needs to be stored in the field FlipAngle of the separate JSON file.

inv

Full name: Inversion Time

Format: inv-<index>

Definition: If files belonging to an entity-linked file collection are acquired at different inversion times, the _inv-<index> key/value pair MUST be used to distinguish individual files. This entity represents the InversionTime metadata field. Please note that the <index> denotes the number/index (in the form of a nonnegative integer), not the InversionTime value which needs to be stored in the field InversionTime of the separate JSON file.

mt

Full name: Magnetization Transfer

Format: mt-<label>

Allowed values: on, off

Definition: If files belonging to an entity-linked file collection are acquired at different magnetization transfer (MT) states, the _mt-<label> key/value pair MUST be used to distinguish individual files. This entity represents the MTState metadata field. Allowed label values for this entity are on and off, for images acquired in presence and absence of an MT pulse, respectively.

part

Full name: Part

Format: part-<label>

Allowed values: mag, phase, real, imag

Definition: This entity is used to indicate which component of the complex representation of the MRI signal is represented in voxel data. The part-<label> key/value pair is associated with the DICOM Tag 0008, 9208. Allowed label values for this entity are phase, mag, real and imag, which are typically used in part-mag/part-phase or part-real/part-imag pairs of files.

Phase images MAY be in radians or in arbitrary units. The sidecar JSON file MUST include the units of the phase image. The possible options are rad or arbitrary.

When there is only a magnitude image of a given type, the part key MAY be omitted.

recording

Full name: Recording

Format: recording-<label>

Definition: More than one continuous recording file can be included (with different sampling frequencies). In such case use different labels. For example: _recording-contrast, _recording-saturation.

proc

Full name: Processed (on device)

Format: proc-<label>

Definition: The proc label is analogous to rec for MR and denotes a variant of a file that was a result of particular processing performed on the device. This is useful for files produced in particular by Elekta’s MaxFilter (for example, sss, tsss, trans, quat or mc), which some installations impose to be run on raw data because of active shielding software corrections before the MEG data can actually be exploited.

space

Full name: Space

Format: space-<label>

Definition: The space entity can be used to indicate the way in which electrode positions are interpreted (for EEG/MEG/iEEG data) or the spatial reference to which a file has been aligned (for MRI data). The space <label> MUST be taken from one of the modality specific lists in Appendix VIII. For example for iEEG data, the restricted keywords listed under iEEG Specific Coordinate Systems are acceptable for <label>.

For EEG/MEG/iEEG data, this entity can be applied to raw data, but for other data types, it is restricted to derivative data.

split

Full name: Split

Format: split-<index>

Definition: In the case of long data recordings that exceed a file size of 2Gb, the .fif files are conventionally split into multiple parts. Each of these files has an internal pointer to the next file. This is important when renaming these split recordings to the BIDS convention.

Instead of a simple renaming, files should be read in and saved under their new names with dedicated tools like MNE-Python, which will ensure that not only the file names, but also the internal file pointers will be updated. It is RECOMMENDED that .fif files with multiple parts use the split-<index> entity to indicate each part. If there are multiple parts of a recording and the optional scans.tsv is provided, remember to list all files separately in scans.tsv and that the entries for the acq_time column in scans.tsv MUST all be identical, as described in Scans file.

res

Full name: Resolution

Format: res-<label>

Definition: Resolution of regularly sampled N-dimensional data. MUST have a corresponding Resolution metadata field to provide interpretation.

This entity is only applicable to derivative data.

den

Full name: Density

Format: den-<label>

Definition: Density of non-parametric surfaces. MUST have a corresponding Density metadata field to provide interpretation.

This entity is only applicable to derivative data.

label

Full name: Label

Format: label-<label>

Definition: Tissue-type label, following a prescribed vocabulary. Applies to binary masks and probabilistic/partial volume segmentations that describe a single tissue type.

This entity is only applicable to derivative data.

desc

Full name: Description

Format: desc-<label>

Definition: When necessary to distinguish two files that do not otherwise have a distinguishing entity, the _desc-<label> keyword-value SHOULD be used.

This entity is only applicable to derivative data.