I'm looking for a concise term for a library or collection including medical images of bones. More precisely it contains multimodal (e.g. X-ray and CT-scan) medical images of subsections of a skeleton (e.g. around the hip or around the knee) along with lots of other contextual and derived information.

  • The term doesn't need to cover the complete definition above so something that implies 'a collection of bones' would be adequate in the context it would be used.
  • The data is used to develop planning software for joint-replacement operations.
  • It's not a 'marketing' term directly but might get used in academic contexts and in discussions with surgeons.
  • Established terms like 'ossuary' would all come with strong associations and don't seem quite right. Most of the people the data relates to are very much alive.
  • Boneyard? . . .
    – Xanne
    Jan 29 at 5:41
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    I've retagged this because we don't provide neologisms. That tag is for asking about neologisms you've encountered already. We do have help for single-word-requests: please review that to make sure the checklist at the bottom has been covered (most if not all has).
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 29 at 8:19
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    Osteology is the study of bones and an osteological collection is a collection of bone specimens, a subtype of an anatomical collection. Doesn't really match the requirements for a snappy single-word name though. I don't think you're going to get a term involving bones that isn't morbid (either relating to death or disease). The phrase "bone library" is also used (at least in literature and metaphorical senses) but I'm not sure of its origin.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 29 at 9:19
  • So there's a physical collection (scattered? centralized?) of bones that have been removed from people who have had bone transplants, and you have a dataset that catalogs those removed bones? And there is also a collection of related radiological scans? And you want a name for the combined catalog?
    – TimR
    Jan 29 at 11:59
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    What you describe is not a ‘collection of bones’, it’s a collection of medical images of bones. There is a huge difference in meaning there, and I suspect part of your issue finding an acceptable term stems from that difference (for the record, an ossuary is the first thing I thought of reading the question title, but it also doesn’t describe what you are talking about at all). Jan 29 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


Do the former patients have easy access to this data? I wouldn't think so. Would there be requests to see old PET scans, MRI images by former patients? Perhaps, but I doubt the images would come with a morbid reminder of their mortality.

On the other hand, experts such as surgeons, physicians, oncologists etc. would not flinch or feel awkward if they read the term "ossuary", but they would feel puzzled as the word means a container or a room of dead people's bones.

I'd suggest imaging repository, obviously the term would not be exclusive to images of bones; if scans, MRIs and Xrays of bones are an essential component then the Greek prefix osteo– could be used: osteography repository might fit. Osteography is a rare word but it is listed in Merriam-Webster's dictionary.

:descriptive osteology

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    For a brand-like name, these suggestions provide a source of inspiration (noting that there's already an "OsteoBase" which seems to be about the bone structures of fish)
    – Chris H
    Jan 29 at 16:39
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    Yes, osteography is the pertinent term here. A slight variant on this: osteographic library (or archive) might be suitable. Extending a bit leads to creations such as "osteopædia". Jan 30 at 12:22
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    @TobySpeight I would suggest Œstonicon, by analogy with "lexicon" and "onomasticon".
    – Tevildo
    Jan 30 at 19:59

Sounds like it's a skeletal corpus.

You could say "skeletal image corpus" - but why? What else would it be?

Note that these days you don't have to call things a "database" anymore - what else could it be?

It would likely just be called "bone images" or " bone images" or perhaps " bone image collection".

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