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Use a Dynamic Batch to Speed Login

By now you know that LIMS provides two methods for logging samples: single sample and batch login. Batch login first appeared in version 1.7 back in 1998. When introduced, batch login was designed to speed login of repetitive samples using predefined named lists of samples. For example, if a water treatment plant routinely collects the same 25 samples throughout the plant every weekday morning, the LIMS administrator can define a single “Weekday Morning Plant Samples” login batch with the static sample characteristics for all 25 samples. Using batch login, the user selects the batch then enters any sample characteristics such as the collected date to apply to all batch samples.

Any sample-specific data can be entered in the batch login screen before completing the login. Using batch login for such repetitive samples is obviously faster than single sample login.

When you frequently log a group of samples that are not routine to warrant a predefined login batch but still have similar characteristics, batch login may still offer advantages. In this case, you can use batch login to dynamically build the batch of samples and log the samples faster than using single sample login.

To use dynamic batch login you must first create an empty login batch used for this purpose. Open the Login Batches screen on the Setup menu and enter only a name and optional notes. Do not define any samples in this batch. The screen below shows our example empty “Dynamic Batch.”

With an empty login batch we are ready to use batch login to dynamically build a list of samples to log. Select the Batch Login option on the Samples menu then choose your empty dynamic batch. Note that when selecting an empty batch, the sample characteristics listed under “Apply to all Samples” will be disabled since there are no pre-defined samples to which the characteristics can be applied. Click the OK button to proceed.

Enter the sample characteristics for the first sample in the Batch Login screen. After you have completed the first sample, click the save record toolbar button to enable the Copy Current Sample button. Now enter the number of times to copy the sample then click the Copy Current Sample button. In the example below (see next page) we are copying the sample four times to create a batch of five samples.

To change any field across samples simply place the cursor in the field and make the change then use either the Page Up/Page Down keys or the buttons in the lower left to navigate between samples. Alternatively, you can click the Summary View button to open a datasheet view of the samples.

In our example five-sample batch, the only field that differs between samples is the sample’s description. The Summary View screen below shows how easy it is to make these changes. Note that you can also copy and delete samples in the Summary View as well.

To complete the batch login, close the Summary View screen and click the [OK] button on the Batch Login screen. You will see that all of the samples in the batch are assigned a single sequential batch number, which you can use later to quickly query all of the samples in the batch for results entry or reporting. You may also find it efficient to use the batch number as a report number on your own custom Excel final reports.

You can also use the Copy Current Sample button to build your batch incrementally. For example, if we had a batch of 10 samples to log where the first five samples were similar and the last five samples were similar but differed from the first five, you can build the batch in steps. Complete the first sample and copy it four times as we did above. Now navigate to a new sample using Records | Go To | New Record or the navigation button. Complete the sixth sample and copy it four times.

If you haven’t already done so, explore the advantages of dynamic batch login and you may speed your sample login process.

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