The role of a laboratory and how laboratory automation can help achieve the aim of a laboratory are discussed. Organising scientific data and converting it into information are aims of both chemometrics and laboratory information management systems (LIMS). A discussion of scientific data and its conversion into information precedes a new approach to laboratory automation. This is necessary to see how chemometrics and LIMS can be merged effectively. A new definition of laboratory automation is proposed. The constituent groups are instrument automation, communications, data to information conversion and information management. The integration of all groups is essential for an effective laboratory.A LIMS is presented as a conceptual model consisting of a database core surrounded by four user segments of data capture, data analysis, reporting and management. One principle of the model is that any function of a LIMS can be classified in one of these four areas. Of specific interest to chemometricians is the data analysis area of the LIMS model; here standard chemometric tools can be used such as PCA, PCR etc. to reduce data to information. The LIMS will aid the process by ordering the data and passing them to the analysis software and accepting the information into the database if required. The systems development life cycle of a LIMS is described from the project proposal, through writing the requirements specification, the selection of a system and finally the implementation and operation of the system in the laboratory.
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- The Management of Laboratory Information
R. D. McDowall
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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