**Disclaimer: Sorry, tech enthusiasts — this article focuses on the general concept of the SSOT, and not the definition related to Information Architecture.
If you’re like most research organizations, your laboratory data is probably scattered across a number of binders, spreadsheets, databases, and email correspondences.
Training records are stored in one place, directory information in a different place, equipment certifications in another, audits in yet another, and so on. What's more, you probably have several different systems within each of these categories, and for each building or lab space.
Often, the same piece of information is stored in more than one location. When that information changes, it must be manually updated across all these different locations. As we all know, this is a classic recipe to make a lot of errors, to make a lot of work, or (worse yet) both.
Of course, that doesn't always happen — so you end up with multiple conflicting versions of the same information and no way to know which is true and accurate.