Finding Your Way Around

LDMS is task-oriented by design. When you start doing something, you are performing that task only. To switch from performing one task (such as entering specimens) to doing another (configuring an assay), you need to stop doing the first task. You can't be doing two tasks at once.

When LDMS first starts, you will see a white screen. To start working, select a task from the LDMS menu bar or tool bar. For example, you can click the button to start Specimen Management and enter specimen data. To change tasks and ship the specimens you just entered, you'd need to click the button to leave Specimen Management, and then click the to open Shipping. This is why, when you start working, you'll notice that most of LDMS's menu and tool bar buttons become disabled.


The button is used to leave a task in LDMS; the button is used to exit LDMS itself.

Figure: Main LDMS Screen. A brief overview of where to find certain features in LDMS

All of the task shortcuts on the toolbar are identical to the tasks listed in the Tasks menu on the menu bar. Likewise the database actions in the toolbar can also be found in the Database menu.

Let's take a brief look at what each button does:

This action adds something you're doing on a screen, such as creating a new report or adding a new specimen. Notice the distinction between and the Save button. Saving is what you do when you are modifying something that already exists; adding is what you do when you're saving something new.


This action saves changes that you've made to a screen. It's different than adding a record in that the record already exists. On most screens in LDMS, you'll get a warning message if you try to leave without saving changes.


This action does something. For example, if you are on a screen that lets you search for something, the execute button will initiate that search.


This action clears a screen of things you entered. It doesn't undo entering a record (LDMS does not have an undo function); it simply clears data that's been entered so that you can start fresh. So if you started entering information and just want to start again, click this button.

Specimen Management

This is where you go in LDMS to enter new specimens, and modify or view existing specimens. All specimens begin their life in LDMS here. New study participants can be added to LDMS when you are creating specimens too. You can also print labels, flag specimens for shipment or for testing, and much more. Using Specimen Management is explained in detail in .

Patient Management

This is where you go in LDMS to modify existing study participants, such as adding or correcting study enrollment. New participants can also (but are generally not) added here. Using Patient Management is explained in detail in .

Storage Management

This is where you go in LDMS to see or change a specimen's storage location. LDMS allows you to define a virtual storage structure in your LDMS database that corresponds to your real-life storage items. There are freezers, shelves, racks, etc.


This is where you go in LDMS to send or receive specimens to or from another laboratory. LDMS transfers data between laboratories by creating shipping files. A shipping file contains specimen information that goes with a physical shipment of specimens. The receiving laboratory can import this shipping file to add the specimens to their own LDMS database.


This is where you go in LDMS to read assay data and associate it with specimens. LDMS supports a variety of assays and assay reader devices.


This is where you go in LDMS to generate a wide variety of pre-configured reports. There are dozens of reports available. LDMS can also generate custom reports using the Data Retrieval tool


This is where you go in LDMS to create new, custom label formats for specimens. You can also print labels for numerous specimens at once.

Database Navigation

These buttons are used in a few places in LDMS to move between entries. Most notably, they are used in LDMS Specimen Management to move between specimen records. They are also used on some assays to change between specimens when multiple specimens are being tested.

Browse and Extended Search

These two buttons are used to find specimens. Their primary purpose is in LDMS Specimen Management , where they are used to search for specimens. Browse is used to find exactly one specimen; Extended Search is used to find a range of specimens. Extended Search is also available in a few other places in LDMS to help find specimens.


This button is only used in LDMS Specimen Management in conjunction with the button. When you use , you are limiting the specimens that are displayed. Clicking button removes this limited scope.

Reports (feature specific)

This button's function is different than the button. The button is used to generate reports that are specific to whatever you are doing in LDMS at that moment. For example, if used while setting up an assay in LDMS, it will generate reports specific to your assay layout. If you use it in LDMS Shipping however, it will generate reports specific to shipping specimens. When you are doing something without any associated reports, this button will be disabled.


This button is used to leave a feature in LDMS. For example, if you are using LDMS Specimen Management and you want to move to LDMS Shipping , you must click the button.


This button closes the LDMS program.