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Summary of LIMS

     LIMS for Light Stable Isotopes - Laboratory Information
                                      Management System for Light
                                      Stable Isotopes

     LIMS for Light Stable Isotopes is a Microsoft Access
     database program for managing samples, analyses, reports,
     and other data in a stable isotope (and tritium, carbon-14,
     and chlorofluorocarbon) laboratory.

     The reliability and accuracy of isotopic data can be
     improved by utilizing database software to (i) store
     information about samples, (ii) store the results of mass
     spectrometric isotope-ratio analyses of samples, (iii)
     calculate analytical results using standardized algorithms
     stored in the database, (iv) normalize stable isotopic data
     to international scales using isotopic reference materials,
     and (v) generate multi-sheet paper templates for convenient
     sample loading of automated mass-spectrometer sample
     preparation manifolds.  Major benefits of this system
     include (i) a dramatic improvement in quality assurance,
     (ii) an increase in laboratory efficiency, (iii) reduction
     in workload due to the elimination or reduction of the
     retyping of data by laboratory personnel, and (iv) a
     decrease in errors in data reported to sample submitters.
     Such a database provides a complete record of when and how
     often laboratory reference materials have been analyzed and
     it provides a record of what correction factors have been
     used through time.  It provides an audit trail for

     LIMS for Light Stable Isotopes can store information about
     samples and analytical results for the following isotope
     ratios, isotopes, and chlorofluorocarbons:

       2H/1H    11B/10B  18O/16O    37Cl/35Cl  129Xe/132Xe
       3H       13C/12C  21Ne/20Ne  38Ar/36Ar  136Xe/132Xe
       3He      14C      22Ne/20Ne  40Ar/36Ar  CFC-11
       4He      15N/14N  30Si/28Si  83Kr/84Kr  CFC-12
       7Li/6Li  17O/16O  34S/32S    86Kr/84Kr  CFC-113

     LIMS for Light Stable Isotopes has proven useful in
     laboratories that (i) receive samples for isotopic analysis
     from numerous individuals, and (ii) perform at least a few
     thousand isotopic analyses per year.  Users who do not meet
     at least one, and likely both these criteria, will probably
     not find worthwhile the investment in time that it takes to
     learn and fully apply LIMS for Light Stable Isotopes.

     Experience has shown that approximately one week is required
     to become reasonably acquainted with LIMS for Light Stable
     Isotopes and to set it up for operation in a laboratory.
     The user should plan one day for the tutorial in the manual
     and three to four days to set up a new database and begin
     importing isotopic analyses from mass spectrometers in the
     laboratory.  Although this may seem like a large investment
     in time, the rewards in increased productivity and better
     organization in a laboratory far outweigh this setup cost.

     Numerous improvements were made for continuous flow isotopic
     analysis in versions 7.13 (for Microsoft Access 97) and 8.13
     (for Microsoft Access 2000).  It is much easier to import
     isotopic results from Finnigan ISODAT worksheets, even
     worksheets on which corrections for amount of sample
     (linearity corrections) have been added.  The capability to
     determine blank corrections using isotope mass balance from
     analyses of elemental analyzer samples has been added.  It
     is now possible to calculate and apply drift corrections to
     isotopic data based on the time of day of analysis.  Whereas
     Finnigan ISODAT software is confined to using only a single
     peak for calculating delta values, LIMS now enables one to
     use the mean of two or more reference injections during a
     continuous flow analysis to calculate delta values.  This is
     useful with Finnigan's GasBench II online sample preparation
     system.  Concentrations of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur can
     be calculated based on one or more isotopic reference
     materials analyzed with a group of samples.  Both sample
     data and isotopic analysis data can now be exported to Excel
     files.  A calculator for determining the amount of sample
     needed for isotopic analysis based on a previous amount of
     sample and continuous flow area is now an integral part of
     LIMS for Light Stable Isotopes.  LIMS for Light Stable
     Isotopes can now assign an error code to Finnigan elemental
     analyzer analyses in which one of the electrometers has
     saturated due to analysis of too much sample material,
     giving rise to incorrect isotopic abundances.

     This database software utilizes Microsoft Access to organize
     samples, projects, isotopes, procedures, media, etc. in data
     tables.  Reports are generated with the Microsoft Access
     report generator.  Calculations are performed by executing
     queries.  Data is presented to the user in user-friendly
     forms, and can be written to ASCII text files and Microsoft
     Excel spreadsheet files.

     Two versions of LIMS for Light Stable Isotopes--version 7
     for Windows 9x and Windows NT/2000 and Access 97, and
     version 8 for Windows 9x and Windows NT/2000 and Access
     2000--have been developed concurrently.  Version 1 for
     Windows 3.x and Access 2 is no longer supported.  In the
     descriptions of software updates below, the version number
     of the Access 97 version is followed by the version number
     of the Access 2000 version (or the no-longer-supported
     Access 2 version) enclosed in brackets ([]).  The first
     release of the Access 2000 version (8.13) was made with
     version 7.13 of the Access 97 version.  The first release of
     the Access 97 version (7.01) was made with the release of
     version 1.41 of the Access 2 version.

     Version 7.13 [8.13] 2000/11/08 - Ability to calculate EA
        concentrations added.  Right-button mouse capabilities
        added.  Importing analyses improved by allowing user to
        view spreadsheet to be imported.  Mass spec spreadsheet
        column names for importing moved from configuration form
        to Mass Spec form so that column headings for each mass
        spec can be unique.  Print to file added to several

     Version 7.12 [1.52] 1998/11/12 - Modified code to check date
        and time separators in Windows Regional Settings.
        Microsoft Access cannot recognize as valid a date and
        time such as 9.9.98 11.15.45 where the separator used in
        both date and time is a decimal.  When this is the case,
        LIMS will prompt the user to change one of the separators
        before continuing.

     Version 7.11 [1.51] 1998/10/26 - Workaround provided for
        known Microsoft Access bug that corrupts data.  Any code
        that uses the bookmark property of a recordset after
        records have been deleted is susceptible to the bug.
        LIMS now requeries recordsets immediately after deletions
        are made.

     Version 7.10 [1.50] 1998/09/02 - Enabled storage of dual-
        inlet and elemental analyzer results on the same sample.

     Version 7.09 [1.49] 1998/06/13 - Added isotopes, isotope-
        ratios, and compounds 3H, 3He, 4He, 14C, 21Ne/20Ne,
        22Ne/20Ne, 38Ar/36Ar, 40Ar/36Ar, 83Kr/84Kr, 86Kr/84Kr,
        129Xe/132Xe, CFC-11, CFC-12, and CFC-113.

     Version 7.08 [1.48] 1998/05/10 - Fixed problem in storing
        sample delta when Reston-specific features selected.

     Version 7.07 [1.47] 1998/04/10 - Added new procedure codes
        to indicate sample preparation procedures:  166 (Std Dev,
        Low Procedure), 167, 187 (H Conc), 188 (O Conc).

     Version 7.06 [1.46] 1998/03/03 - Added new software switches
        for modifying how LIMS is configured; added switches to
        allow for storage of Finnigan spectrometer elemental
        analyzer concentrations (STORE_EA_CONCENTRATIONS),
        Finnigan ion gauge values (STORE_ION_GAUGES), and
        unexpected procedure codes (STORE_UNEXPECTED_PROCEDURES).

     Version 7.05 [1.45] 1998/01/28 - Revised importing of
        project data from Microsoft Excel files.  Revised
        latitude and longitude fields on Sample form.

     Version 7.04 [1.44] 1997/12/10 - Revised importing of dates
        to correctly handle non-U.S. conventions followed in
        specifying dates.  Allowed C and N concentrations from
        elemental analyzer analyses to be imported and stored.

     Version 7.03 [1.43] 1997/11/05 - Fixed errors related to
        non-U.S.  country settings in Microsoft Windows.

     Version 7.02 [1.42] 1997/08/02 - Fixed port number importing
        for Reston-specific analyses.

     Version 7.01 [1.41] 1997/07/21 - Added peak numbers to
        database in order to store continuous flow isotope-ratio
        mass spectrometer analyses.

     Version 1.33 1996/12/16 - Fixed Delete button on Edit
        Samples In Progress form to correctly update sample
        information.  Added media validation when storing delta

     Version 1.32 1996/11/01 - Fixed bug preventing low and high
        procedure codes from being saved for two or more samples.
        Added low and high procedure code checking.  Fixed
        problem with date shown in Project form.  Fixed problems
        with display of hourglass.  Replaced semicolons with
        commas as delimiters for importing DuPont data.  Made
        modifications to allow importing of and reporting of
        fractional seconds.  Modified code to not allow storing
        of data when errors encountered in parsing data to be

     Version 1.31 1996/08/30 - Made modification to store sample
        headings and isotopic data separately in database rather
        than in a single data table.

     Version 1.1  1996/02/11 - Early version with basic

     Sample and project information can be entered by hand or
     imported from Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files.  Isotopic
     analyses can be entered by hand or imported from files saved
     to diskette by Analytical Precision, Europa Scientific,
     Finnigan, and Micromass spectrometers, although Micromass
     continuous flow analyses files cannot be imported.

     Sample projects with isotopic data can be exported as ASCII
     text files or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files.  Numerous
     reports can be generated from LIMS.

     To run LIMS for Light Stable Isotopes, the following are

        - Pentium processor, running at 200 megahertz or faster
        - Windows 9x, NT 4.0, or Windows 2000
        - up to 17.9 megabytes of free disk space
        - 24 megabytes memory
        - display resolution of 800x600
        - Microsoft Access 97 with Database Drivers and Microsoft
          Graph installed, and Microsoft Excel 97; OR Microsoft
          Access 2000 and Microsoft Excel 2000

     For optimal performance, the following are recommended:

        - Pentium processor, running at 450 megahertz or faster
        - 64 megabytes memory
        - display resolution of 1024x768

     Coplen, T.B., 2000, A guide for the laboratory information
        management system (LIMS) for light stable
        isotopes--Versions 7 and 8: U.S. Geological Survey Open-
        File Report 00-345, 121 p.

       U.S. Geological Survey
       Tyler Coplen
       431 National Center
       Reston, VA 20192

       U.S. Geological Survey
       Hydrologic Analysis Software Support Program
       437 National Center
       Reston, VA 20192

     Official versions of U.S. Geological Survey water-resources
     analysis software are available for electronic retrieval via
     the World Wide Web (WWW) at:

            and via anonymous File Transfer Protocol (FTP) from:

              (path: /pub/software).

     The WWW page and anonymous FTP directory from which LIMS for
     Light Stable Isotopes software can be retrieved are,


     for information on ordering printed copies of USGS

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