How to Annotate data with Sample Tags in Cytobank (tutorial)


This article shows an actual example of how to annotate data with Sample Tags.

If you haven't already, please read the Overview of Sample Tags for background on the subject.

If you want to follow along, look for the public PBMC (fluorescence) experiment on the Cytobank on which you have an account. This experiment is a PBMC sample stimulated with four conditions: unstimulated, IL10, IL6, and LPS.




To make a copy of the Experiment for your own use, open the Experiment, and Selective Clone it without Sample Tags (annotations), such that you can add them yourself.


How to annotate data with Sample Tags

After the experiment has cloned, or when opening an experiment you already own, you will be in the Working Illustration. Click into the Sample Tags dropdown menu and select "Add Conditions Tags". We are using the "Conditions" dimension because it fits with the variable of this experiment, which is stimulations with different compounds. For more discussion on the theory of Sample Tags, please see the Overview article for Sample Tags.



The resulting page can be used for one experiment variable dimension in this experiment. Now that we're inside the dimension, we can add experimental attributes (Sample Tags) to it. These Tags can be entered as a comma separated list:



After clicking to add these Sample Tags to the experiment, Cytobank will scan the files for character strings that match what has been entered. Where matches are found, files are automatically tagged. This highlights the value of labeling your files during acquisition!:


(Files have been automatically tagged from character string matching)


If you have files that don't assign correctly, simply drag them to the correct Sample Tag. In this case, we will remove the extra "Unstim" file because only one is needed for analysis. Another tool at your disposal on the Sample Tags page is the file filter. Enter characters into the filter to find matching files and hide others. When matching files are found, they can be sent to the desired Sample Tag:



(Click to enlarge animation - Reassigning files to different Sample Tags)


To change the name of any Sample Tag after creating it, simply click the name of the Sample Tag and edit it.


(rename an existing Sample Tag)


This experiment only has one variable with four conditions. Because of this, we only need to visit this single page in order to accomplish annotating this experiment. If there were other variables such as patients, or timepoints, we would need to visit more pages to apply Sample Tags for those classes of variable. See the Sample Tags Overview for more information on multi-dimensional tagging.

Now that the files have been tagged, we're done! The Sample Tags will be available in their respective Figure Dimensions boxes within the Working Illustration, ready to be used for generating figures.


Also read about annotating files with Sample Tags using spreadsheets.

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