Dewar tracking in ISPYB – what is it and how does it help my experiment ?

We have added a number of features to ISPYB in order to help you, both to follow the journey of your sample-containing dewars to and from ESRF when you ship them using a commercial courier and to track their locations once they are at the ESRF.

The main features of the new dewar tracking system in ISPYB are as follows:

  • The creation of labels incorporating a unique bar-code for use when sending dewars to and from the ESRF. The bar-codes on these labels will be used to track the locations of your dewars while they are at the ESRF.
  • The tracking of you dewars during transport from your laboratory to their destination beam-line at the ESRF site and back to your laboratory.
  • The automatic acknowledgment of the arrival of your dewars at ESRF.
  • The automatic acknowledgment of the return of your dewars from the ESRF to your laboratory with their return tracking number.
  • The creation of the necessary information required to allow the ESRF stores deal with your shipments (i.e. contact details etc).

 Dewar Tracking process

Dewar tracking in EXI – what are the main changes ?

This new "dewar tracking" process replaces the old process.

To use the "dewar tracking" process :

  • You have to use the "create shipment" option which will create the number of dewars you want.
  • Then you may either fill these dewars by hand creating containers and samples in them, or use the "upload shipment" option from the shipment page.
  • Now use the step-by-step guide to initiate dewar tracking


Step by Step guide



  1. Log-in to ISPYB at with your proposal login and password


  1. From the shipment menu select 'Add new'


  1. Define shipment name and select the lab contact

More details

In the Shipment TAB of ISPyB, select ‘create shipment’ in the left menu.

This will bring you to the page below and allows you to describe your shipment, from providing a shipment name, to the number of items you will send (e.g. 1 or more dewars, other equipment etc), selection of a specific beamtime allocation or a set of scheduled visits at the synchrotron, to providing To/From addresses for the shipment and a Lab and Local contact. (Mandatory information is indicated by a red asterisk).




In the experiments scheduled field, only future experiments scheduled in the user office database will be proposed to you (in the example above there was none). You can select one or more of these future experiments.. By default the 1st date will be attributed to all your shipment components but at the dewar level you will be able to edit the experiment date/location to one or more of the other ones selected at the shipment level. This provides a mechanism for you to dispatch components of a shipment to several beamlines.


  1. Define a new parcel (Dewar)

    It takes 3 days to validate sample sheets so you must think ahead to do this before preparing your dewar

  2. Define the content of each dewar

  3. Print the labels


More details

Prior to Print your labels, you can Edit the parameters of the components of your shipment by clicking on the pencil icon.
Once finished you can print the labels for each component by clicking on the print icon (as enlighted above).
This will provide you with a pdf composed of 3 labels:

  1. a label to stick on your dewar :


label1 for dewar
  1. a label to print on your sending box surrounding the dewar:


label 2 : TO ESRF label
  1. and a label that you will stick on your sending box when you'll return your dewar from ESRF to your lab.Label 3 : FROM ESRF to User Lab


We recommend that you print the whole file for each component of your shipment, stick the 2 first labels on the dewar & box and save the 3rd label in your box for return (particularly important in case of remote access).

This labels is the essential element of the dewar tracking since they contain a unique populated barcode which will be read upon arrival at ESRF or after each moving of the dewar.



  1. Send your shipment to ESRF with your courier company and inform ISPYB that the shipment was sent. 


More details

Get your courier company to pick your parcels and keep the tracking numbers for each of them.

In the Shipment TAB, click on the plane icon when you have send your dewar. You will then be asked to fill-in some shipment information like the tracking numbers, date of shipment, expected date of arrival at ESRF:



Warning ! Once you clicked ' Send shipment to ESRF' it will be impossible to modify the dewar contents. Hoewever, you can still modify lab-contact details and session details.


 How do I follow the location of my shipment components?


In the Shipment TAB click on View shipment and select the shipment you sent for your experiment.

You 'll view each of it's component information and their locations at the moment of your viewing.