Specimen Identifiers

Every specimen in LDMS is assigned two identifying numbers: specimen ID and global specimen ID. There is also a third identifying number called the other specimen ID. LDMS does not generate the other specimen ID, nor does it enforce any rules for its usage. It is there to accommodate unique workflows, such as internal groups at a laboratory.

The global specimen ID is a unique number generated by LDMS for every specimen logged. It is unique not just at your laboratory but at all laboratories using LDMS. The global specimen ID is 10 characters long. The last two characters are the aliquot sequence, with the first aliquot numbered -01, the second being -02, etc. The aliquot sequence for a primary is -00.

Figure: Global specimen ID format. An example global specimen ID; this number is unique for each aliquot and is assigned by LDMS.

The global specimen ID is not generated until you actually add the specimens and aliquots to your database. Once used, the global specimen ID will never be reused, even if the specimen is deleted.

Specimen IDs, unlike global specimen IDs, are not necessarily unique. They are generated for a primary as soon as you've entered the primary and additive type. By default, primaries with the same type and additive will have the same specimen ID. For example, if you drew two vials of blood at the same visit and used the same additive, you essentially have 2 specimens that are the same. LDMS does provide users with the ability to customize how the specimen ID is generated.

Figure: Specimen ID format. An example specimen ID; the six digit sequence resets back to 000001 at the beginning of each year.

Specimens Converted from RLMP

Early in LDMS's life, many specimens were imported from an another platform called the Retrovirus Laboratory Management Program (RLMP). These specimens have a unique specimen ID that you may encounter if you are working with older specimens (or data from older specimens). They appear in the format 048R98001145, where 048 is the LDMS laboratory number and R indicates that the specimen was converted from RLMP.

The way LDMS generates specimen IDs (not global specimen IDs) can be adjusted. If you do adjust it, the changes will take effect for new specimens; existing specimen IDs will not be modified.

Changing the default method for generating specimen IDs:

  1. Click Administration > Define Specimen Numbering.

  2. Select one of the following options:

    • If you want all primaries to have the same specimen ID regardless of additive, select No unique number.

    • If you want primaries to have a unique specimen ID for each additive, select Unique number for EACH additive.

    • If you want the specimen ID to be unique for every primary, select All unique number.

    • If you want the specimen ID to be unique for each aliquot of each type of derivative, select Unique number for EACH derivative.

  3. Click the OK button.


You can only change the way LDMS generates specimen IDs once. If you do change it, you will not be able to do so again.