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E. Sources

This section is a compendium of sources for databases and related materials that may be useful to readers of this guide. Please send any corrections to the author (wfdb@physionet.org).

WFDB Programmer’s Guide (this guide)
WFDB Applications Guide
WAVE User’s Guide
MIT-BIH Arrhythmia Database
MIT-BIH Arrhythmia Database Directory
MIT-BIH Polysomnographic Database
MIMIC Database
MGH/Marquette Foundation Waveform Database CROMs
Long-Term ST Database
Other reference databases of physiologic signals
WFDB Software Package
XView toolkit (needed for WAVE)

WWW: http://physionet.org/

PhysioNet offers free access via the web to large collections of recorded physiologic signals and related open-source software. The PhysioNet web site is a public service of the PhysioNet Resource funded by the National Institutes of Health’s NIBIB and NIGMS. The master PhysioNet web server is located at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts; about ten public mirrors are located elsewhere in the US and around the world (see http://physionet.org/mirrors/ for a list).

European ST-T Database CDROM
European ST-T Database Directory
VALE Database Directory

National Research Council (CNR) Institute of Clinical Physiology
Dept. of Bioengineering and Medical Informatics
via Trieste, 41
56126 PISA, Italy

email: taddei@ifc.pi.cnr.it
telephone: +39 050 501145
telefax: +39 050 503596

Over half of this database has been contributed to PhysioNet (see above), from which it may be downloaded freely.

AHA Database for Evaluation of Ventricular Arrhythmia Detectors

5200 Butler Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 USA

email: bduffin@ecri.org
WWW: http://www.ecri.org/
telephone: +1 610 825 6000
American National Standard ANSI/AAMI EC38:1998, Ambulatory Electrocardiographs
American National Standard ANSI/AAMI EC57:1998 Testing and Reporting Performance
   Results of Cardiac Rhythm and ST Segment Measurement Algorithms

Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation
1110 N Glebe Road, Suite 220
Arlington, VA 22201 USA

WWW: http://www.aami.org/
telephone: +1 703 525 4890
telefax: +1 703 276 0793
Computers in Cardiology

WWW: http://www.cinc.org/

CinC is the major scientific meeting at which current research in ECG signal processing and modelling is discussed; the proceedings of the conference are probably the single best source of information in print about these topics. CinC conferences have taken place annually since 1974, usually in September. They are usually convened in North America and in Europe in alternate years. The deadline for submission of abstracts is on or about 1 May each year. Proceedings of CinC conferences since 2006 are available on-line at http://cinc.mit.edu/archives/, and usually appear about a month after the date of the conference. CinC will be in in Bologna (Italy) in 2008, and in Park City, Utah (USA) in 2009.

Since 2000, Computers in Cardiology and PhysioNet have jointly sponsored an annual series of open challenges that invite participants to address topics of interest to researchers and clinicians, often involving the study of WFDB-compatible data sets made available via PhysioNet, and culminating with research presentations and awards at CinC. See http://physionet.org/challenge/ for further information.

Proceedings of Computers in Cardiology (ISSN 0276-6574)

CinC proceedings from 2001 to present are available on-line at http://www.cinc.org/archives/.

IEEE members can find CinC proceedings from 1988 to the present using IEEEXplore (http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/). Many universities provide access to these services for their students, faculty, and staff. Printed volumes of CinC proceedings are available from:

IEEE Customer Service
445 Hoes Lane
P.O. Box 1331
Piscataway, NJ 08855-1331 USA

email: customer.service@ieee.org
WWW: http://www.ieee.org/ieeestore/
telephone: 1 800 678 IEEE (USA and Canada) or +1 732 981 0060
telefax: +1 732 981 9667
GNU emacs
gcc (the GNU portable C/C++ compiler)
GNU tar
GNU gzip (free and improved replacement for ‘compress’)
Larry Wall’s ‘patch’ program, with GNU revisions
GNU groff, gtbl, and related text formatting utilities
GNU info and makeinfo (standalone hypertext browser and formatter)

Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor
Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA

email: gnu@gnu.org
WWW: http://www.gnu.org/
telephone: +1 617 542 5942

GNU software is included in all Linux distributions (in fact, since Linux is the name of the kernel only, and the largest component of these distributions is actually GNU software, it is proper to refer to them as GNU/Linux distributions). GNU software for all popular (and many other) operating systems is available on CDROM or tape from the address above, and is also freely available by anonymous FTP from ftp.gnu.org and and many other archive sites. Please support the FSF with a donation if you use GNU software.

TeX for Unix systems

This software is available by anonymous FTP from CTAN (Comprehensive TeX Archive Network) mirrors, including ftp.tex.ac.uk, ftp.dante.de, and ctan.tug.org. Many of the sources of GNU software (above) also make TeX, etc. available. CTAN is indexed on the World Wide Web (one such index is http://www.ctan.org/).

The Unix TeX distribution is also distributed on CDROM and in other tape formats by the Free Software Foundation (address above) and others. It is also included with most GNU/Linux distributions (see below).

Several commercial implementations of TeX for MS-DOS, MS-Windows, and Mac OS are widely available; visit the web site of the TeX Users Group (below) for pointers.

General information on TeX

TeX Users Group
PO Box 2311
Portland, OR 97208-2311 USA

WWW: http://www.tug.org/
email: office@tug.org
telephone: +1 503 223 3960
telefax: +1 503 223 9994

WWW: http://curl.haxx.se/

The libcurl library is a modern and enhanced replacement for the libwww libraries (see below). It provides the low-level functions needed to support the WFDB library’s (optional) NETFILES capability.

W3C libwww libraries

WWW: http://www.w3.org/Library/

The libwww libraries, created and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium, were used in the original implementation of NETFILES. Since these libraries are no longer maintained, the WFDB library now uses libcurl instead.

X11 (the X Window System, Version 11)

email: xorg_info@x.org
WWW: http://www.x.org/
telephone: +1 781 376 8200
telefax: +1 781 376 9358

Sources for XView are available from PhysioNet.


GNU/Linux is a POSIX-compliant reimplementation of the Unix operating system, written by Linus Torvalds and a cast of thousands. It runs on Intel 386, 486, and Pentium PCs, among others. For information about GNU/Linux, visit the web site of the Linux Documentation Project:

WWW: http://www.linuxdoc.org/

GNU/Linux is freely available by anonymous FTP in source and binary form from many sites, including:


Many low-cost (typically US$10 to US$30) distributions of GNU/Linux on CDROMs are widely available. Among the more popular are:

Debian (non-commercial)

WWW: http://www.debian.org/

Fedora (non-commercial)

WWW: http://fedoraproject.org/

Gentoo (non-commercial)

WWW: http://www.gentoo.org/

Knoppix (non-commercial, live CD)

WWW: http://www.knoppix.org/


WWW: http://www.mandriva.com/

Red Hat

WWW: http://www.redhat.com/

Slackware (non-commercial)

WWW: http://www.slackware.com/

SuSE (Novell)

WWW: http://www.novell.com/linux/


WWW: http://www.ubuntu.com/
Compilers and software development systems

Any ANSI/ISO C compiler can be used to compile the WFDB library and applications that use it. Under Unix and GNU/Linux, high-quality free compilers and development tools are universally available and taken for granted. Even if you must work in the MS-Windows or MS-DOS environment, however, there is no reason to purchase expensive, bloated, and inferior proprietary compilers and software development systems, since there are several excellent, highly recommended, and completely free alternatives based on the GNU C/C++ compiler (gcc).

Using any of these packages does not limit you to creating free (open source) software, although you are certainly encouraged to do so. If you wish to develop and sell proprietary software using gcc, this is certainly possible, with fewer and less severe restrictions than you will encounter if using a commercial compiler.


WWW: http://www.cygwin.com/

This is a freely available software development platform for MS-Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME/XP, based on GNU gcc and a large set of Unix utilities developed by the GNU project and ported to MS-Windows by Cygnus Software (now part of Red Hat, see above). Cygwin itself is open-source software and is highly recommended in preference to commercial C/C++ compilers if you must work in the MS-Windows environment. The WFDB Software Package binaries available via PhysioNet are created using Cygwin.


WWW: http://www.mingw.org/

This is another freely available software development platform for MS-Windows, also based on gcc and many of the same utilities as Cygwin. The difference is that applications built by MinGW gcc use the native MS-Windows C library, while those built by Cygwin gcc generally use Cygwin’s Unix-compatible standard C library.


WWW: http://www.delorie.com/djgpp/

A freely available software development platform for MS-DOS, including gcc, a free 32-bit DOS extender, and many of the same utilties as Cygwin and MinGW.

Microstar DAP analog interface boards for PCs

Microstar Laboratories
2265 116th Avenue N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004 USA

email: info@mstarlabs.com/
WWW: http://www.mstarlabs.com/
telephone: +1 425 453 2345
telefax: +1 425 453 3199
Web browsers

The most popular Web browsers may be downloaded at these locations:

FTP: ftp.mozilla.org
WWW: http://www.mozilla.org/firefox/

Google Chrome
WWW: http://www.google.com/chrome/

MS Internet Explorer
FTP: ftp.microsoft.com
WWW: http://www.microsoft.com/

FTP: ftp.opera.com
WWW: http://www.opera.com/

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PhysioNet (wfdb@physionet.org)