RadLex Series Playbook

DICOM imaging studies frequently include multiple image series, each acquired using a distinct protocol (e.g., view, phase, contrast). These series are described in widely varying ways by different device manufacturers and sites, which raises a number of issues in the implementation of hanging protocols, clinical and business operations in radiology and aggregation and analysis of imaging data. 

Building on the success of the Playbook project, the RadLex Committee has initiated work to address these issues and have assembled a task force of radiologists and informaticists to develop a set of standardized, vendor neutral, imaging-series names.

The committee includes members from academic and private practice as well as industry.

Task force members

Ross W. Filice, MD; MedStar Georgetown, Radlex Chair
Audrey Verde, MD, PhD; Vanderbilt University, Radlex Vice Chair
Beverly Collins; Penn Medicine
R. Kent Hutson, MD; Rad Partners
Jason M. Hostetter, MD; Wellspan Health
Gloria L. Hwang, MD; Stanford University
Charles E. Khan, MD, MS; Penn Medicine
Marc D. Kohli, MD; UCSF
Nina Kottler MD, MS; Rad Partners
John Mongan, MD, PhD; UCSF 
Stacy O’Connor, MD; UNC
Mike Ross; Qvera
Beth Santori; Enlitic
George L. Shih, MD, MS; Weill Cornell Medical
Timothy P. Szczykutowicz, PhD; University of Wisconsin, Madison
Kenneth C. Wang, MD, PhD; University of Maryland School of Medicine
Greg Zaharchuk, MD, PhD; Subtle Medical

Series names standardization

Radlex Series Playbook

Proposed CT series naming convention

Laterality (optional)
Body Part
Anatomic Plane
IV Contrast
Luminal Contrast (optional)
Dual Energy (optional)
Slice Thickness (required)
Kernel (optional)
Positioning (required when used)
Projection Imaging
Secondary Capture

Convention philosophy 

  • Vendor neutral 
  • Applicable across practice settings 
  • Applicable across subspecialties 
  • Provides clinically useful information that would inform the radiologist which series to select 
  • Includes body part up front, to assist with identifying series for multi-body part acquisitions  
  • Data that is not necessary for series selection and that can be found within the DICOM is not necessary to include 
  • To focus on the most common and clinically useful series name elements—with the understanding that it is not possible to be all inclusive while remaining non-prescriptive of exam protocols 

Convention goals

To provide a standardized format for the most common series-name elements to achieve consistency of data across scanners and institutions allowing for hanging protocols to function reliably. 

Secondary gain of series naming convention

  • Standard series data elements will facilitate research efforts 
  • Standard series data elements will facilitate algorithm development, training, testing and utilization 

Initial convention scope

The proposed series naming convention was developed with CT in mind, as this modality is widely available, allowing for diverse application, testing and feedback.

The next phase of the series standardization project is to collaborate with our industry partners to expand the naming convention for MRI series application. 

Convention testing and feedback

Next steps include a web page for data entry, allowing for wide testing and a conversion feature to automate series names.


How is slice thickness defined?
  • Recon:  < 1 mm 
  • Thin:  >= 1 mm and < 2.5 mm 
  • Std:  >= 2.5 mm and < 5 mm 
  • Thick:  >= 5 mm 
How long can a series name be?
A series name can be up to 64 characters.
Are there additional convention rules?
  • All series descriptions will use Title Case 
  • Space is the only allowed separator between series description elements; underscore is the only allowed separator within elements