Improving the Plasticity of LIMS Implementation: LIMS Extension through Microsoft Excel

LIMS in the Modern Laboratory
Oral Presentation

Prepared by M. Culver
LJT & Associates, Inc., 34200 Fulton Street, Wallops Island, VA, 23337, United States


Contact Information: mark.e.culver@nasa.gov; 757-824-1155


ABSTRACT

A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a databasing software with many built-in tools ideal for handling and documenting most laboratory processes in an accurate and consistent manner, making it an indispensable tool for the modern laboratory. However, a lot of LIMS end users will find that in the performance of analyses that have unique considerations such as standard curves, multiple stages/incubations, or logical considerations, a base LIMS distribution may not ideally suit their needs. These considerations bring about the need for extension languages, which can extend the functionality of a LIMS. While these languages do provide the implementation team the functionality required to accommodate these special laboratory analyses, they are usually too complex for the end user to modify to compensate for natural changes in laboratory operations. The LIMS utilized by our laboratory offers a unique and easy-to-use choice for an “extension language”, one that is already heavily relied upon not only in science but also in most academic and business pursuits: Microsoft Excel. The validity of Microsoft Excel as a pseudo programming language and its usability and versatility as a LIMS extension language will be discussed. The NELAC implications and overall drawbacks of this LIMS configuration will also be discussed.