Long-Term Archival of Laboratory Data

Depending on the use case, electronic data records need to be preserved for several decades. Today, many laboratories choose to archive their data in PDF format. However, PDF only captures an image representation of the scientific data, not the actual raw numbers. This makes it difficult to perform certain operations (re-processing, re-calculations, re-integration) on such files. AnIML ensures that the actual values are preserved and remain readable and available for reprocessing in the future. It is no longer necessary to retain the original instrument software. Instead, a single generic AnIML viewer tool can be used to access any document in the archive. This results in significant cost savings when maintaining the archive.

At its core, AnIML stores the experiment data in XML. This ensures that the data is structured and tightly constrained, but human-readable at the same time. Thus even if the software to access the archived data is lost, full reconstruction of any archived record remains possible. Also, the syntactic (XML) and semantic (technique) integrity of archived records can be verified with a validation tool to maintain data quality and archive integrity.