Chain of custody

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Chain of custody (COC) represents the chronological record of a sample or evidence, including its collection, preservation, transportation, transfers, analysis and final disposal. A properly documented chain of custody guarantees the identity and integrity if the item "from the time it is collected through the time the results of the analysis are reported and subsequently disposed of."[1] A COC is created when one entity acknowledges (in writing or through an automated software process) that it has taken possession of the item from the previous entity, proving that the item that was collected is the same as the one being analyzed and reported on.[2] The resulting COC allows users and auditors the opportunity to note exactly when the item was logged in, who handled the item during all processes performed on it, and the location(s) it was stored in during its processing. In a laboratory information management system (LIMS), this is typically accomplished with date stamps, user IDs, and location IDs.[3]

A chain of custody in a LIMS is often dependent on quality audit trail functionality


  1. Jones, Andrew; Craig Valli (2008). "Chapter 1: An Introduction to Digital Forensics". Building a Digital Forensic Laboratory: Establishing and Managing a Successful Facility. Butterworth-Heinemann. pp. 11. ISBN 1856175103. 
  2. Segalstad, Siri H. (2008). "Chapter 18: Laboratory Information Management Systems". International IT Regulations and Compliance: Quality Standards in the Pharmaceutical and Regulated Industries. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 262. ISBN 0470758821. 
  3. Paszko, Christine; Paszko Turner; Elizabeth Turner (2001). "Chapter 4: Data Management and Advanced LIMS Functional Requirements and Features". Laboratory Information Management Systems. CRC Press. pp. 35–36. ISBN 0824741412.