Previous File Exchange Formats
There have been some file exchange formats which have not obtained or even
tried to obtain a status as an official standard but which have been used
to exchange biosignal data. These have been studied by members of the
Exchange Format task force but as each one of them has had some limitations,
a new format needed to be designed.
"European Data Format"
An earlier, unofficial storage format intended especially for sleep recordings
was published in "Kemp B., Värri A., Rosa A.C., Nielsen K.D., Gade
J., A simple format for exchange of digitized polygraphic recordings,
Electroencephalogr. Clin. Neurophysiol., Vol. 82, 1992, 391-393". This
format is often referred to as the "European Data Format", EDF or EDF-92.
Display and conversion programs (MS-DOS and Windows-95/NT) for this format
can be found in the ftp server sigftp.cs.tut.fi in the directory
/pub/eeg-data/programs in the file
which is an archive file to be opened by
with the command
LHA E EURODATA.LZH
on a MS-DOS personal computer. Additional information concerning this
package can be read from the file
A program to display EDF-92 files under Windows-95 or Windows NT 4.0 is
which is available in the same directory in the zip archive
Kemp in Leiden, Holland maintains a list of tools and support for EDF.
Extensible Biosignal Format (EBS)
This format has been developed in the Institute for Physiology and Experimental
Pathophysiology (IPB) in University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
particularly for the recording of multiple channels of EEG or MEG with
the same sampling frequency in all channels. The specification of the EBS
data format is available through WWW by following the links of the IPB
WWW server at http://www.ipb.uni-erlangen.de/.
SIGIF is a rather flexible data format from university of Porto, Portugal.
A document of it
has been pulished in
IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 413-418,
This format has been developed in co-operation of University of Los Angeles,
California and researchers in Australia. Documents on this format can be
downloaded via ftp from the ftp server
sigftp.cs.tut.fi in the directory
/pub/eeg-data/programs in the file
which is a PostScript file to be printed directly with a PostScript printer.
in the same directory contains a short description of a video extension
to the format.
CEN/TC251 has produced a prestandard (ENV 1064) for the storage of ECG
signals in routine electrocardiography. This prestandard (Standard Communications
Protocol - Computer-Assisted Electrocardiography) is very ECG specific
and can be used as a reference for future work with other signals and measurements.
ASTM has published a data format for the storage of neurophysiological
signals and measurements. The disadvantage of this format is that data
is stored in ASCII which is inefficient for biosignals.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has published a database
of ECG arrhytmias in digital form. The data format in which the signals
have been stored is freely available.
Siemens-Elema, Sweden has made an open specification for storing biomesurements
called SIFOR. The disadvantage of this specification is that the structure
of binary data is not specified exactly and the sender and the receiver
of the data have to be informed about it in advance before data exchange
Back to WGIV main
Institute of Signal Processing,
University of Technology, P.O. Box 553, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland
Tel. +358-3-31152575, Fax. +358-3-31153857,