Specimen Tracking (Legacy)

Premium Resource - Specimen functionality is a legacy feature available with Premium Editions of LabKey Server. For new installations, we recommend using Sample Manager instead. Learn more or contact LabKey.

Beginning with LabKey Server version 21.3 (March 2021), specimen functionality has been removed from the study module. A new standalone specimen module must be obtained and installed to use specimens with studies. This module is available to current Premium Edition subscribers who are already using it.

Once the specimen module is deployed, it must also be enabled in every study where you wish to use it:

  • Select (Admin) > Folder > Management.
  • Click the Folder Type tab.
  • Check the box for Specimen.
  • Click Update Folder.

LabKey Server helps research teams bring together specimen data from separate systems, integrate specimen information with other data types, and securely manage the allocation and transfer of scarce specimen resources between labs, sites and repositories.

LabKey Server can act as the database of record for specimens, the integration point for information from external systems, or a combination of both.

  • If you need heavy-duty management of specimen information (e.g., freezer layouts, etc), we typically recommend the use of a third-party, fully-featured Laboratory Information Systems (LIMS) as the specimen database of record. LabKey Server can then serve as the point of data integration and the central portal for managing specimen requests across multiple sites with separate LIMS.
  • If your specimen information is relatively simple, you can avoid adopting another information management system and use LabKey Server as the database of record for specimens. You can import, enter, and edit specimen information within LabKey Server, and integrate this data with other kinds of data.

Specimen Repository Types

LabKey Server supports two types of repositories.

  • The Standard Specimen Repository supports import of spreadsheet data and a variety of viewing and reporting options.
  • The Advanced (External) Specimen Repository integrates with existing data archives and offers additional features such as specimen request tracking and optional data modification without re-importing the entire repository. The Advanced Specimen Repository can act as a lightweight LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System).

Specimen Tutorial

The Specimen Tutorial walks through the process of configuring and using a specimen repository. In practice, different users play different roles in the process, but it may be helpful for any user to review the entire process.

Specimen Repository Roles

Administrator: The specimen repository is set up and managed by a folder administrator who configures the repository, imports and updates data, assigns permissions and roles to other users, and exports specimen archives. In addition to the options covered in the tutorial, administrator tasks are outlined here:

Specimen Request Coordinator: If you are using an Advanced Specimen Repository configured to support request and tracking features, the administrator can assign the role of "Specimen Request Coordinator" to the person who will manage actors, requests, and notifications. This person does not have full administrator permissions on the folder, but performs configuration and tracking tasks for specimen requests. Researchers and Requesters: Those who have been granted specific Specimen Requester permissions can also request specimen vials if enabled.



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