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Getting around LIMS-plus v5: Dashboard, Menus, Case Tabs, and Main Case View

LIMS-plus v5 feels like any other website, so getting around is intuitive and familiar. If other versions of LIMS-plus were used previously, however, the differences might be somewhat disorienting. This page introduces the general layout of the application.

Dashboard or Home Page

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When the user first logs into LIMS-plus v5, he or she is taken to their home page, or dashboard. The dashboard provides an overview of information that is important to the user. Below are some points of interest and definitions:

  1. The current user and the site (lab) they are logged into.
  2. The current user's profile.
  3. Home button. Clicking this will take the user back to the dashboard or home page.
  4. Main menus.
  5. Dashboard menus (also known as "tabs").
  6. Recent Cases. A list of the most recently opened cases will appear here.
  7. Pending Tasks. The user's pending tasks will be listed here.
  8. Alerts. The user's alerts (messages) will be listed here.
  9. Common Actions buttons. These buttons change as the user moves around in LIMS-plus v5.
  10. Shortcuts. These are commonly used system-wide functions such as New Case, Open Case, etc.

Menus

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Some menus in LIMS-plus v5 have additional submenus (also known as "fly-out menus"). Clicking an command option in the main menu performs one function, while hovering over the option presents a submenu with additional options. Slide the pointer onto the submenu and click to select an item from that submenu. The presence of a submenu is noted by an arrow next to the command option in the main menu.

In the example shown in the image above:

  1. Clicking Staff in the Admin menu (1) will open a list of staff members.
  2. Hovering the mouse pointer over Staff opens the Staff submenu with additional options (2).
  3. Unavailable menu options appear "grayed out" (3).
  4. Some menu options can also be performed using keyboard shortcuts (4).

Case Tabs

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Every open (existing) and new case will have a tab bar toward the top of the screen that allows the user access to the various sections of the case. Hover the mouse pointer over the red arrows at either end of the tab bar (<< and >>) to scroll the tab bar left or right to access more tabs. Click either the left or right gray arrow (on either end of the tab bar) to go to the next screen in that direction (for example, clicking on the gray right arrow while on the Crime Scene screen will take the user to the Evidence screen). NOTE: The [ALT] keyboard shortcuts to open the case tabs instead of clicking on the tab name (e.g., using [ALT]+A to go to the Agency screen without clicking on the Agency tab) are not implemented at this time, but will be added in a future product update.

Most case screens allow users to add attachments, add or delete individual entries, and export the lists to print, HTML or Excel format.

The tabs that are available for every case are:

  1. Case Info - The main section of every case. Contains case messages, notes, the case status, and other overall settings.
  2. Agency - Agencies related to the specific case (and that Agency's case number for the case) are added here.
  3. Offense - Offenses related to the case are entered here. Offenses can also be related to other Crime Scenes, Evidence, Requests, and Individuals.
  4. Individual - Individuals related to the case are entered here. Individuals can also be related to other Offenses, Requests, Investigations, Evidence, and Crime Scenes.
  5. Crime Scene - Case Crime Scenes are entered here. Crime Scenes can be related to other Investigations, Requests, Offenses, and Individuals. Child scenes, attachments, responders, and time stamps can be added to Crime Scenes.
  6. Evidence - Evidence items related to the case are entered here and can be related to other Offenses, Individuals, Requests and Agency Reps. Evidence Storage Locations can be entered, attachments added, entries itemized, and special handling instructions defined. Chain of custody will be kept electronically. Evidence reports can be run from this screen.
  7. Investigation - Investigation information for cases is entered on this screen. Investigations can be related to other Crime Scenes, Individuals, and Requests. Narratives and attachments can be added to Investigations.
  8. Comm Log - Case-related communications can be entered on the Comm Log screen, along with attachments, and Comm Logs can be mapped (related) to Requests.
  9. Request - Specific Requests for analysis are entered here. Requests can have child requests and/or attachments. As Requests are assigned and tasks performed, Milestones are reached.
  10. Attachment - Attachments specifically related to the case, such as photographic images, can be added on this screen. Attachments can be mapped (related) to other Individuals, Investigations, Comm Logs, Individuals, etc. This screen is also where the Image (Attachment) History can be viewed and where the Imaging Pane can be accessed and used to annotate images.
  11. Case Activities - Case Activities, such as court summons, training requests, subpoena critiques, etc., can be added and edited on this screen. Activities can be related to Offenses, Individuals, and Requests. Attachments can also be added to Case Activities.
  12. Calendar - The Calendar tab takes the user to a calendar populated with entries specifically related to the case.
  13. Case Packet - Case packets can be created for existing cases for the purpose of hard copy files, discovery, etc. From the Case Packet screen, specific documents are selected to be included in a Case Packet which can then be saved to a file or printed.

Main Case View

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The main case view (also known as the Case Info view) shows all of the information about a single case file.

From any view in a particular case, click the Case Info tab (1) to return to the main case view. The identifying case number (2) is visible in all views for a particular case. The work area (3) changes as the user clicks on different tabs for a case (e.g., Crime Scene, Evidence, Comm Log).

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