Tagging has been around since the early days of Benchling. It’s always been a bare, power-user feature, though — today we’re adding some features to make tagging easier and more accessible.
What are tags?
Tags are a flexible system for adding extra data (“metadata”) to your sequences. Each tag is identified by its name and an optional value — that’s it! Each sequence can have exactly one tag of a given name, and names/values can be arbitrary chunks of text. (Tag names and values used to disallow any spaces — today’s updates fixes that.) It’s a simple foundation that can be extended to sophisticated uses.
The tag editor can be accessed from either a library’s page or from its new section in the information panel while editing a sequence. It’s designed to make adding tags quick and efficient — for keyboard-shortcut fans, hitting enter will create a new tag and using tab will navigate between the name and value fields.
Organizing Sequences with Tags
For an individual sequence, tags can be useful in providing summarized information such as the fridge a sequence is stored in or the resistance genes present. The library page, however, is where the power of tags becomes evident.
Clicking a sequence tag (or using the + button to the right of the header) will let you add tag columns to the table, and clicking a column’s header will sort by that tag. Your column preferences are remembered even if you leave the page — the library page can essentially replace most spreadsheet needs.
The improved library page makes it easy to filter by various fields — names, descriptions, and custom tags.
Importing Existing Metadata
We want to make it easy for you to get started with tags, and we realize moving your old data to Benchling is not always easy. The bulk tagger can be a convenient way to do so, by importing tags from a CSV format. (As always, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need assistance with the import process.)