PACS has 4 levels of data, which are related as follows:
When setting up PACS, it can be confusing to determine which data belongs at which level. There are several questions to consider before deciding:
- As a starting point: What needs to be traceable in a repository, i.e. what is the exact sample that you are tracking in your freezer/storage/repository? That will be your Aliquot Level (see below).
- In future, when you plan to search for data, what kind of search would you like to use?
- How would you like data to be filtered?
- Potential research questions – this will help to determine field types and when creating Search Engine Templates.
Now let’s take a deep dive into the 4 levels of data in PACS.
LEVEL 1: SOURCE
This level is OPTIONAL, i.e. Source Catalog and Source Level can be hidden for users. Key features of data at the source level are as follows:
- Can Search for Duplicates
- Can view Tests and Diagnostics directly from the Source Tracking Form
- Can print multiple (up to 20) Sources/Source Tracking Forms in one operation/report
Default fields under this data level are (mandatory fields are bolded): Source ID, Creation date, Source type, Template, Notes & Point of origin
Source can exist without any linked Materials (and consequently any Aliquots and Tests). Source cannot be linked to an Aliquot or Test directly, a linked Material will be required.
Permissions at Source level can be configured at User/User Group level (by denying permission to Source Catalog completely). Or by access to materials (provided the Source has linked Materials), which can be configured in System Preferences as follows:
LEVEL 2: MATERIAL
This level is ESSENTIAL, as one of the core levels in PACS. Key features of data at the material level are as follows:
- Can be linked to Source, however this is not necessary.
- Different data summaries of Materials created in PACS can be displayed in various reports such as: Material Movement Journal, Material Summary, Registration Book of Material, Material Registration Act. Please note that data entered via Data Import function may not be included in some journals/report.
Default fields under this data level are (mandatory fields are bolded): Material ID, Source ID, Material Type, Creation date, Template, Parent material, Owner, Notes & Point of origin
Materials can exist without any link to Source or Aliquots (and consequently Tests). Material cannot be linked to a Test without a linked Aliquot. Please note: Location is not assigned or tracked for Materials.
Permissions at Material level can be configured at User/User Group level (by denying permission to Material Catalog completely). Or by Owner (which can be specified as one User or a User Group) provided there is no linked Aliquot or all linked Aliquots have been destroyed. This can be configured in System Preferences as follows:
LEVEL 3: ALIQUOT
This level is ESSENTIAL, the main core level in PACS. Aliquot needs to be linked to a Material, and Location in Repository needs to be defined. This is the only level which tracks location. Key features of data at the aliquot level are as follows:
- Only level with defined location for tracking
- Operations are applied at this level such as: Material Usage, Aliquot Movement (within Repository), Material Transfer (outside Repository), Material Destruction, Dilution, Aliquoting, and Subculturing.
- Additional functionalities for Aliquots include: Repository Inventory, Repository Subdivision Content Report, Repository Management, and Aliquot Movement Act.
- Print Barcodes/QR code (although information can include Source and Material level data)
Default fields under this data level are (mandatory fields are bolded; uneditable fields are underlined): Aliquot ID, Material ID, Material type, Creation date, Template, Derivative Type, Parent Aliquot ID, Passage, Aliquot status, Location, Volume, Weight, Notes, RFID
Permissions at Aliquot level are determined by Repository Permissions. Repository permission will also apply to the linked Material and Source.
LEVEL 4: TEST
This level is OPTIONAL, i.e. Test Catalog, Tests, and Test Sets can be hidden for users. Test needs to be linked to an aliquot. Key features of data at the test level are as follows:
- Test Sets and Tests can be defined
- Diagnostics functionality which tracks Test operations is applied at the Test level. However, Diagnostics is also a function that can be hidden and Test Results can be added without Diagnostics.
Default fields under this data level are (mandatory fields are bolded; uneditable fields are underlined): Test ID, Template, Creation date, Test type, Result, Status, Test date, Source ID, Material ID, Aliquot ID
We hope this article has helped illustrate the properties of the 4 levels of data in PACS, and helped you decide what level your information belongs to. Please feel free to contact us if you need any additional assistance.