How to Better Organize your Laboratory Samples

How to Better Organize your Laboratory Samples

How to Better Organize your Laboratory Samples


As a scientist, there are more responsibilities than just designing & conducting a research experiment. Time is key, good time management is one of the critical successes of being a scientist. Many scientists fail to notice that there are certain menial tasks in the lab that can lead to huge losses of time. For example, finding your sample in a messy fridge can take you up to an hour to be done. It can get frustrating when your research has to be delayed while you’re constantly in a race against time.

Today, there are many solutions developed to help improve time efficiency in the laboratory to help you as a scientist focus on what matters the most.

Plan and develop a system that suitable for you

The first thing that you need to do is to know your laboratory. It is possible to sketch where to keep things and develop a better solution that is easy to work with. Keeping the most frequently used solutions and instruments in a place where you can easily see and pick them up is a good idea. 
With a sample labelling system, you can record your labelling system in your laboratory notebook and document the sample’s identity as you collect it by using your lab notebook to organize your samples. Nowadays, we also have modern ways to organize your experiment with an electronic laboratory notebook. It’s as easy as downloading it on your computer. Save time and improve organization with no more papers!

Make sure your sample is properly labelled 

Label your sample clearly by using short words that still have meaning. Make sure to use a waterproof pen or ethanol-proof markers to write on it because the label will be tarnished if you use a non-waterproof pen. 

Keep your labels visible at all times by following these steps:

  • Mark the label with a fine-point marker.
  • Make sure the marker you use is waterproof and resistant to ethanol.
  • Rather than trying to squeeze too much information onto the label, adopt a shorthand numbering system.
  • Using a dry wipe, dab lightly on the label area of your sample if frost has collected there. Afterwards, wipe off the frost and re-record the writing if it is still legible.

Maintain a good sample management system 

Sample management refers to the process of selecting, collecting, storing, and retrieving samples and the information they contain. In modern sample management systems, lab sample data is accumulated and analyzed using software and hardware tailored to the system.

There are many tools available that can help you achieve quality sample management.

For example, DataPaq™ Handheld Tube Reader 

The Ziath DataPaq™ Handheld reader is a portable scanner for samples that are compatible with all tubes. In addition, a client application is included to help define the data to be stored and loaded/unloaded onto the handheld. You will still be able to access data even in the deepest darkness of your sample storage. Using one hand, you can hold and operate the device while using the other hand to handle tubes. Additionally, there is no need for an external computer.

There are four operation modes:

  • Barcode Scanning – View the barcode on the screen by scanning the tube.
  • Picklist – Create a picklist using the Client and scan the tubes using the handheld device to ensure you have the correct tubes.
  • Data View – Scan a barcode to view sample details.
  • Data Entry – Enter information from a barcode to store it.

Keep your consistency

One of the most important suggestions is to stay consistent. Make sure your painstakingly collected samples are labelled and organized consistently and vigilantly. Keep in mind that every step you take to prevent mislabeling or misplacement will yield long-term benefits, especially for those in the medical industry, biological industry, biotech industry, chemistry industry, pharma industry and more.

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