eCatalogue: a revamped digital sample catalogue

In February 2018, IBBL (Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg) launched eCatalogue, its revamped online sample catalogue enabling quick and real-time access to IBBL’s biospecimens and associated data.

The launch of the eCatalogue is yet another step towards ensuring the continuous improvement of IBBL’s service offering and client satisfaction, leveraging on the benefits of digitalisation to provide advanced searching and querying features to its end-users. The new tool was introduced to replace the previous sample catalogue, a static document providing a non-customisable list of biosample types and characteristics, therefore offering a user-friendly and interactive platform that allows for a better user experience and tailored search results.

This novel digital catalogue was created by IBBL’s internal Business Information Services (BIS) department with the end-users in mind, being intuitive, visual and accurate. Researchers can easily access real-time information about the human biospecimens stored at IBBL and their associated clinical data by selecting the sample type (e.g. blood, urine, tissue, etc.) and/or collection (e.g. cancer, diabetes, etc.) of interest. The biospecimens corresponding to the chosen criteria are then filtered and displayed in a table. Users can subsequently select the samples that are fit for their research purposes and submit their sample distribution order to IBBL’s team of project managers, who will deal with the request according to the internal sample access policy.

“The current set up of the eCatalogue allows researchers to browse our collection of samples through sample-related filters. However, this is just the start. By the end of the year, we will be offering enhanced features, making it possible for users to also filter our samples based on a selection of donor clinical data of interest, such as age, gender, disease and others”, explains Christophe Spielmann, the project manager. “The idea is for the functionalities of our catalogue to continuously evolve to adapt to the needs of researchers and provide an increasingly tailored service”.

In line with donor confidentiality, sample ID and any other sensitive data associated with the biospecimens are not disclosed. User credentials are also treated according to data protection rules. The eCatalogue is available for browsing to any public user without any need to register, as long as a search query is not submitted to IBBL for the creation of an actual sample distribution request. It can be accessed at any time by following the dedicated link For further information on the catalogue or on our collection of human biospecimens, please contact us.