Improving Specimen Labelling and Data Collection in Bio-science Research using Mobile and Web Applications

Abstract

Researchers in bio-sciences are increasingly harnessing technology to improve processes that were traditionally pegged on pen-and-paper and highly manual. The pen-and-paper approach is used mainly to record and capture data from experiment sites. This method is typically slow and prone to errors. Also, bio-science research activities are often undertaken in remote and distributed locations. Timeliness and quality of data collected are essential. The manual method is slow to collect quality data and relay it in a timely manner. Capturing data manually and relaying it in real time is a daunting task. The data collected has to be associated to respective specimens (objects or plants). In this paper, we seek to improve specimen labelling and data collection guided by the following questions; (1) How can data collection in bio-science research be improved? (2) How can specimen labelling be improved in bio-science research activities? We present WebLog, an application that we prototyped to aid researchers generate specimen labels and collect data from experiment sites. We use the application to convert the object (specimen) identifiers into quick response (QR) codes and use them to label the specimens. Once a specimen label is successfully scanned, the application automatically invokes the data entry form. The collected data is immediately sent to the server in electronic form for analysis.

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