Baobab LIMS: An open source biobank laboratory information management system for resource-limited settings
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A laboratory information management system (LIMS) is central to the informatics infrastructure that underlies biobanking activities. To date, a wide range of commercial and open source LIMS are available. The decision to opt for one LIMS over another is often influenced by the needs of the biobank clients and researchers, as well as available financial resources. However, to find a LIMS that incorporates all possible requirements of a biobank may often be a complicated endeavour. The need to implement biobank standard operation procedures as well as stimulate the use of standards for biobank data representation motivated the development of Baobab LIMS, an open source LIMS for Biobanking. Baobab LIMS comprises modules for biospecimen kit assembly, shipping of biospecimen kits, storage management, analysis requests, reporting, and invoicing. Baobab LIMS is based on the Plone web-content management framework, a server-client-based system, whereby the end user is able to access the system securely through the internet on a standard web browser, thereby eliminating the need for standalone installations on all machines. The Baobab LIMS components were tested and evaluated in three human biobanks. The testing of the LIMS modules aided in the mapping of the biobanks requirements to the LIMS functionalities, and furthermore, it helped to reveal new user suggestions, such as the enhancement of the online documentation. The user suggestions are demonstrated to be important for both LIMS strengthen and biobank sustainability. Ultimately, the practical LIMS evaluations showed the ability of Boabab LIMS to be used in the management of human biobanks operations of relatively different biobanking workflows.