Sample management in medical and biological laboratories is increasingly challenging as the number of samples grows along with the advances in analytical technologies. Especially within small-to-medium-size Research & Development (R&D) laboratories, finding and establishing a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) capable of adapting to the various, frequently changing requirements is critical.
MAPS (Material Administration and Preparation System) is a new concept of LIMS, which tries to meet these requirements with an innovative data model as well as a modern service-oriented architecture on top of state-of-the-art web technologies.
MAPS uses a hybrid data representation strategy which tries to benefit from the advantages of structured data storage and document management. Every material and every container – these are the two central storage items - can be described by an arbitrary number of documents, which themselves consist of an unrestricted number of attributes. This hybrid data organization comes with the flexibility of document management to store any type of information, and the strictness of structured data storage to preserve data consistency and integrity.
MAPS is customized via a graphical administration user interface, which allows the specification of container types and geometries (racks, boxes, plates, vials, tubes, etc.), of material types (DNA, RNA, blood, tissue, etc.), and of consumable supplies, amongst others.
Laboratory processes and standard operating procedures are defined with a set of graphical wizards supporting this step. Both, manual and robotics-driven task definitions are supported, including the possibility to specify lab-specific mapping protocols and command file generation.