Automated Repositories Special Interest Group

Chair: Andy Zaayenga

Co-Chairs: Jessica Lesko and Jessica Erbsen

The quantity of environmental and biological specimens and derivatives is rising and will continue to do so. Automation of the processes to collect, prepare, distribute, and archive the materials and the data associated with those materials becomes compelling as laboratory operations increase. Interoperability and facile exchange of specimens and data between collections is critical. Automated repositories present challenging issues with regards to design, sample process, data process and labware. The repository management industry is at a juncture where establishment of automation guidelines will greatly accelerate future development.


  1. Determine appropriate automation strategies as throughput requirements increase.
  2. Explore process and laboratory operations to ascertain where standardization of protocols including labware is warranted to effect efficient automation.
  3. Propose automation pathway recommendations to ISBER Best Practices guidelines.


We expect to connect the communities of repository professionals with automation experts through discussion groups and publications. Archived discussion communications and papers published in industry journals will foster cooperative guideline development and a knowledge base for those entering the field.

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