Tuesday, 18 October 2016 12:14

Seven wonders of Samples

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If you are a laboratory scientist with a large number of samples stored in freezers, which may be from many different projects and stored in multiple locations, then you will almost certainly have a huge amount of information at your disposal, and more often than not, this kind of data overload can feel overwhelming.

What you need is a system that has been tailored to your very needs, one that can collate all of this information in one easy to use, intuitive, and (perhaps most importantly) safely backed up system. This is where Samples comes in.

Samples is a sample management program that allows you to track and trace where and what your samples are. Here are our top 7 reasons why using Samples can help your sample management easier: 

    1. Software tailored for the life science industry

      We have spent time developing our software to ensure it is specifically tailored to the needs of a busy laboratory. While still being easy to use, Samples is full of tricks and innovations that have been developed following suggestions from our customers, so as to properly address their daily challenges.

      Your samples do not even need to conform to any pre-determined identification scheme – for example, they don’t need to have a barcode. All they need is some form of individual identification and they can be imported into the system.

    2. Combining Old Data with New

      As well as being able to scan in your new samples from their barcodes, Samples can also import the data from all of your legacy samples. All you need is an Excel or text file containing the information about your old samples and this can easily be imported into the software. No need to manually type in data or transfer samples into coded tubes – just import the data.

    3. Powerful searching

      Importing your data into the system is just the first step. What’s more important is retrieval of the information when it is required. The advantage of using Samples over spreadsheets is the search parameters that can be applied to track down your samples. 

      Often when planning a set of experiments, a user will need to run a search based upon a single parameter – such as cell type, patient profile, or location. Other times, multiple parameters need to be applied – a user may need to locate all of the samples that contain oesophageal adenocarcinoma cells that are no more than 10 years old, and have not been irradiated, for example – these parameters can be entered and provided the information is logged, and the user will be presented with a list of relevant sample tubes, along with related data and their location. 

      This can be particularly useful in avoiding the need to thaw entire boxes of samples while manually searching for just one – heat sensitive materials such as RNA and proteins can be damaged easily if left allowed to thaw inappropriately. 

    4. Multiple user support  

      Laboratories can be hugely busy places. Full of researchers, PhD students, postdocs, technicians and more – often it can be hard to keep track of where things have been moved to, and who by. To account for this, Samples has a method of tracking the movement of storage samples through the laboratory. 

      Each user can have their own personal login, and can ‘check out’ samples purely by scanning them. This means when another user is trying to track down a particular sample, if it is not in the freezer they can find out who is in possession of it. An integrated audit trail can allow laboratory personnel to properly log their activity so that future users can obtain an accurate history of every sample. 

    5. Enhanced security  

      As soon as you start to build a comprehensive system, you will find that you begin to rely on that system more and more, which means it becomes hugely important that there are measures in place to ensure you won’t lose your collected data. Unlike conventional spreadsheets, Samples can be set to automatically back up all of its data at increments defined by the user. 

      Very busy laboratories that are entering important data at a high rate can opt to have the system back up two or three times a day for example. Most laboratories will benefit from the reduced interruption of workflows by setting auto-backups to once a day (usually overnight).

      The data can be backed up to any location available to the computer, be It a local physical drive, or somewhere on the site network and it is done automatically, so you can rest assured your vital data is safe. 

    6. Fully customizable

      Because we write the software for Samples, we can offer customizations within the program depending on your laboratory needs. You can come to us directly and identify your research area and the ways in which you interact with your samples, and we can help tailor the software to your approach. Some of the suggestions made by our customers end up becoming a permanent part of Samples – we think that the idea is so good that we build it into the standard software. 

      One example of a possible customization is that you may want to use Samples to keep an eye on levels of particular reagents in your freezers, where tube ID is not an important factor as identical reagents normally have the same ID. What you may want, however, is to be able to check if reagent levels are getting low – Samples can help you do this. Alternatively, users may want to move existing data from an existing external database over to Samples when integrating it into their laboratory for the first time. Again, Samples can be configured to help users with this.

    7. Keeping costs down

      Samples aims to make your life easier, and we believe that keeping costs down can help with the adoption of sample management systems, as laboratory managers already have a hard time making sure money is spent wisely. 

      Although we believe that Samples is full of innovations that are invaluable for a busy laboratory, you might be pleasantly surprised about the cost of this package. And there are no hidden annual fees, just a low cost initial purchase and the software is yours – for life. We genuinely think that Samples offers outstanding value for money and is one of the best kept secrets in this industry. 

      It is also constantly being improved and updated, so users old and new can choose to benefit from the latest additions.

What next?

If any of the above is of interest to you or you think Samples may be useful addition to your laboratory, then please get in touch with us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). We are happy to provide you with more details, an on-line demonstration, and if you really think this may be a useful tool you can ‘try before you buy’ and install a demonstration version of the software.

Read 5087 times Last modified on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 12:40

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