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Database Design Question


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I could use some advice on the best way to do a join.  I've got one table all setup which is a collection of yeast strains which have a unique Strain ID.  The other table contains 96 well plates, we currently have ~10 plates.  Each plate has unique info, but each of the 96 wells can contain a yeast strain.  A given yeast strain may exist in many wells across many plates, but each well only contains a single strain.

My first pass was to just create 96 "location" fields right in the Plate table, limit it to a "StrainID" value list, but then I realized that to setup a relationship there I'd need to create 96 relationships which doesn't seem right.  I think I can do everything I need to do with scripts, passing the values around and performing searches, but that seems pretty cludgy.

Any suggestions for a better way?

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14 minutes ago, Isaac Knoflicek said:

 The other table contains 96 well plates, we currently have ~10 plates.

This is confusing: what is a "well" and what is a "plate" and what is the (real-life) relationship between them?

 

If I am guessing correctly, you need to have three tables:

Plates -< Wells >- Strains

Then the next question is whether all 96 wells are filled for every plate.

 

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1 minute ago, comment said:

This is confusing: what is a "well" and what is a "plate" and what is the (real-life) relationship between them?

Understandable, sorry.  The plate is a metal rectangle and the wells are holes in it.  

Maybe it'd help to think of the plate is an array with 96 elements (wells)?  Or the plate is a rack with 96 test tubes (wells) in it?

Here's a picture of one:

96-Well%20Treated%20Microplates%20U-bott

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Yes, that's what I figured - see the edit to my answer.

But there are more questions:

1. Do you ever need to present the contents of a plate in a grid?

2. In what way is the location of a well significant?

3. What will you actually want to do with the data? In some circumstances, you could simply use a repeating field in the Plates table.

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We would like to see the plate in a grid.  My hope for data entry is to have the users go to a strain record and then have a popover where they can choose a plate and just tick the wells where that strain is present.

The user wants to be able to choose a strain and then see the location of each well that contains it, as well as look at a plate and see what strains are in each well.

As far as I know the goal is just to catalogue their yeast strains so they know what's incubating where.

Thanks for your help!

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9 minutes ago, Isaac Knoflicek said:

The user wants to be able to choose a strain and then see the location of each well that contains it,

Then you would not want to use a repeating field.

You haven't answered my first question: does every plate have content in all its 96 wells?

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3 minutes ago, Isaac Knoflicek said:

They do use all 96 wells

Well, then you have two options: either pre-create 96 related records in the Wells table every time you create a new record in Plates, or use a helper "grid" table to assist in viewing/populating the wells - see: http://fmforums.com/topic/98967-how-to-manage-hundreds-of-fields-and-their-related-records/#comment-450176

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