Defining Containers and Levels

In LDMS, a container is considered a rectangular object with places for individual specimens. It is the smallest storage unit in LDMS. An 8x8 container, for example, would contain 8 rows of 8 specimens, for a total of 64 aliquots in the container. Individual specimens have a unique storage position using the container's coordinates.

Before a container can be used in LDMS, you must define the type of container (its size, sorting method, etc) by creating a configuration for it. Adding a container configuration is done in LDMS Storage on the Configuration tab.

Creating a storage container configuration

  1. Select the Container radio button (this is selected by default).

  2. Enter the No. of Columns and No. of Rows for your container. These are the dimensions for the number of specimens the container can hold.

  3. If needed, select an Exclusion Type. This allows you define a specific position, row, or column in the box that will not hold a specimens. For example, by excluding the top-left corner, you can use the empty spot as a reference point to determine which side of the box is the top.

  4. Enter a descriptive name for the container into the Label field.


    To make it easier to re-use configurations, consider using generic names. For example, 8x8 Box, no top-left corner could be used for many groups, whereas Frontier Project Box implies that the box can't be used for other groups.

  5. Select the Labeling Method. This is how coordinates for the container are labeled. You can chose from a combination of numeric or alphabetic rows and columns. You can also chose Positions Only, which will assign a number to each specimen slot instead of coordinates.

  6. Select the Fill Order. This how LDMS will add specimens to a container when positions are automatically assigned to specimens.

  7. Select the format you want to use for coordinates from the Coordinates list. You can chose between (row, column) or (column, row)

  8. If the box's rows are organized in ascending order (e.g. F, E, D...) instead of the default (A, B, C...), select the Reverse Row Labeling check box.

  9. Click the button from the LDMS toolbar to add the new storage container configuration.

Figure: Example container configurations. Examples of the settings used for two different storage containers. The arrow indicates how the box will be filled; the shaded location illustrates the two different ways of displaying coordinates.

Storage level configurations are created the exact same way as containers. Storage levels have coordinates and positions just like containers. The difference is that instead of holding aliquots, levels hold containers or other levels. For example, a storage level with 1 row and 3 columns would equate to a shelf that can hold 3 boxes (one box per column).

Creating storage level configurations does offer one additional option, the ability to set the Container for Level. This field lets you restrict a level to only holding certain containers. For example, you can create a shelf that only lets you add a specific type of box to it. If a level is to be restricted, it can only be restricted to one specific type of container. If you anticipate needing to use more than one container type, leave the Container for Level field blank.