Anybody who works with transgenic mice will encounter the problem of dealing with all the information that is needed to maintain the colony. Crosses, litters, weaning, mouse IDs, etc. It can be overwhelming. If the colony is small and you’re just one person, an Excel spreadsheet can work. But as the colony grows and as you try to associate additional information (tissue, samples, litters, downstream experiments), spreadsheets become less useful.
I tried some of the commercial colony management solutions, and databases like the one from Jax. But I found them too clunky and complex.
In the end, I settled on something in between a spreadsheet and an all out SQL database.
I’m using something called Airtable, which is a cloud-based database, akin to Microsoft access but more user friendly and flexible.
It looks just like a spreadsheet, but the main difference is that you can easily link entities across different tables. So for example, you can see I have tabs for
Microscopy Slides and so on. The beauty is, through linking, you can keep track of relationships without having to copy-paste redundant info. So for example, if I’m making some slides from tissue from a certain mouse, I can back track all the way back to the mouse tab, seeing the original cage, the litter, the tissue section, etc.
This works for me now, and it’s collaborative. There is also a legit nice mobile app.
What do you do?