The process of selection of a pathology computer system has become increasingly complex as there are an increasing number of facilities that must be provided and stringent performance requirements under heavy computing loads from both human users and machine inputs. Furthermore, the continuing advances in software and hardware technology provide more options and innovative new ways of tackling problems. These factors taken together pose a difficult and complex set of decisions and choices for the system analyst and designer. The selection process followed by the Microbiology Department at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital included examination of existing systems, development of a functional specification followed by a formal tender process. The successful tenderer was then selected using predefined evaluation criteria. The successful tenderer was a software development company that developed and supplied a system based on a distributed network using a SUN computer as the main processor. The software was written using Informix running on the UNIX operating system. This represents one of the first microbiology systems developed using a commercial relational database and fourth generation language. The advantages of this approach are discussed.