FDA regulations require the electronic storage of all Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) data for a period of seven to ten years. In addition many research projects in a laboratory carry on for 5, 10, even 35 years and longer. Analyzing long term trends in data often generate questions regarding collection of the data. As technology improves, data quality changes and as time goes on new technicians come and go. A laboratory may commonly receive questions such as "is this shift in the data due to an clinical or ecological event or a change in analytical technology?" In response, the lab is often asked to "double check" the raw data. Or "I would like to run an experiment using the same techniques as project such and such." Another question is, "Can we pull up methods, data, etc., to make sure methods etc. are the same?"
Most systems cannot solve this problem because the data from instruments is stored in proprietary binary formats. Most industries provide a capability to export their data to formats such as comma separated value (.csv) files, Excel or industry standard XML formats like AnIML (Analytical Information Markup Language). See more info at http://www.labautopedia.org/mw/index.php/AnIML
Labcore handles this by integrating the laboratory's instrument exported output directly. Labcore has a library of clients for instruments in the laboratory that will capture data exported from the instrument software and create industry standard XML data files and chromatogram or other graphic output format, if necessary. The data along with all original exported data files are sent to the LabCORE document and data management server for storage, indexing and retrieval. This process is automated to require minimal operator intervention.
The Labcore document and data management server will perform several other
1) Search and retrieval of the documents by specified criteria
2) Viewing and download of the documents in their native file formats
3) Export of the data to long term storage media such as CD or DVD.
An overview of the process is diagramed below. The laboratory is responsible for the processes in the top box. Essentially the laboratory will export the data to a specific file location. From that point Labcore's process will automatically process the files.
Any future instrument which provides export files in a known form such Excel or delimited text will be able to have its driver integrated so its data can be captured with minimal additional effort.