Thursday, 20 October 2016

Freezer box tube storage templates

As I settle in to my new postdoc position, in a relatively newly established lab,  I've been setting up my lab management techniques.

One of the things that's always bothered me is the best way to record what tubes are in which box in the freezer. On one hand, a straight up list is most convenient for typing and copying, while on the other a table showing what's in which position is more intuitive and convenient for printing.

In my previous labs I've always worked with existing templates, or within a particular framework. This time around though it's a reasonably fresh start – and I'm also still in that lag phase where I'm still waiting for most of my reagents to be delivered – so I thought I'd take the opportunity to whip up a nice solution that addresses both issues before I lay down too many tubes.

The fruits of my labour can be downloaded from GitHub

Basically the idea aims to combine the ease of entry of a simple vertical table, with the easy visualisation of a coordinate table system. So you can copy and paste rows of data on the tall table on the left, then the spreadsheet auto-fills in the appropriate cells on the table on the right which can then be selected and printed for pasting into your lab book. 

If you don't like the exact entry fields that I used you can also change the headings of the table on the left. I would however encourage you to use some marker of the appropriate lab book entry, which is something many forms (including my old ones) omit: in an ideal world, given any tube you should be able to find out all it's information (or vice versa), so this information is vital.

There's a 9x9 and a 10x10 format available. If anyone does use it and have any thoughts I'd love to hear about it.