1. FAQs
  2. Searching the Library
  3. Features
  4. Tips
  5. Citing the Library


What Is the Goal of The Cell Image Library™?
To create a valuable research tool to promote analysis and new discoveries
What Kind of Images Are Sought?
The Cell seeks images from all organisms, cell types, and processes, normal and pathological. Image quality should be as high as possible, within the limitations imposed by the then current state of readily available imaging technology and constraints imposed by the biological specimen. We accept images in any of the 99 file types found at http://www.openmicroscopy.org/site/products/bio-formats. We can also work with your negatives. If you have images on negatives that you would like to submit, please contact David Orloff, Manager of the Library, at dorloff@ncmir.ucsd.edu .
Why Can’t I Save my Advanced Search?
The ability to save a search would require individuals to login. To simplify access, we have decided against this approach. However, we are developing a system enabling users to subscribe to a search and be emailed when images matching your search parameters are added to the Library.

Have a question not on the FAQ list? Email David Orloff, Manager of the Library, at dorloff@ncmir.ucsd.edu.

Searching the Library



Annotations and Downloads

  • Detailed annotation by expert annotators using a variety of ontologies and free form image description to ensure intelligent searches
  • Expert annotation includes detailed information on Biological Sources, Biological Content, and Imaging Method
  • Images downloadable as OME-TIF and submitted raw data
  • Detailed Image Page with viewing and analysis tools


  • Images easily saved, sent, and posted (via Email to a Friend/Colleague/Self and Facebook/Other Networks)
  • Posted comments on images and supplemental information, available
  • Images organized by Cell Process, Cell Component, Cell Type, and Organism

Image Rendering and Analysis

  • Images exportable as OME-TIF or as original uploaded raw data file
  • Image analysis tools include options to turn channels on/off, to change channel colors, and to adjust brightness and contrast
  • Line plot analysis capability
  • Z-stack or time series easily playable as movies in the Advanced Viewer (by pressing the arrow)

Under Development

  • eResearch Librarian enabling email notification of matches for complex ontological search parameters
  • Image of the Day available by subscription

What new features/tools will support your research use of this resource? How would you like to use The Cell? Please email suggestions and comments to David Orloff, Manager of the Library, at dorloff@ncmir.ucsd.edu.


  • Popups must be enabled in your browser in order to open the Detailed Viewer popup.
  • On the detailed image page you can zoom into and out of the image using the scroll wheel of your mouse
  • To generate a movie from a z-stack or time series, open the Detailed Viewer and use the 'Make Movie' option on the Detailed Viewer popup.

Have additional tips you would like to share? Email David Orloff, Manager of the Library, at dorloff@ncmir.ucsd.edu.

Citing the Library


To cite original images, videos, and animations published in The Cell we suggest the following format:

Brandner, D. and Withers, G. (2010) Images of <description >.  The Cell Image Library, www.cellimagelibrary.org, CIL numbers 10106, 10107, and 10108, ASCB.

Reference Citations

When citing an image, video or animation in The Cell previously published in a journal, you should cite the journal article according to the publisher’s style. If you wish to call attention to the image data not available through the journal, you might add the text noted below for such citations.

When citing an image, video, or animation originally published in The Cell, we recommend the following format:

Brandner, D. and Withers, G. The Cell Image Library, CIL: 10106, 10107, and 10108. Available at http://www.cellimagelibrary.org. Accessed December 08, 2010.

Reference Callouts in Text

Textual references should be by name and CIL number:

(Woodcock, CIL: 685)

(Brandner and Withers, CIL: 10108)

(Iwasa et al., CIL: 9776)