The Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, a research and development division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). maintains a digital archive of 17,000 cervical and lumbar spine images collected in the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Classification of the images for the osteoarthritis research community has been a long-standing goal of researchers at the NLM, collaborators at NCHS, and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and capability to retrieve images based on geometric characteristics of the vertebral bodies is of interest to the vertebral morphometry community. Automated or computer-assisted classification and retrieval methods are highly desirable to offset the high cost of manual classification and manipulation by medical experts. We implemented a prototype system for a database of 118 spine x-rays and health survey text data related to these x-rays. The system supports conventional text retrieval, as well as retrieval based on shape similarity to a user-supplied vertebral image or sketch.