With recent advances in DNA sequencing technology, medicine is entering an era in which a personalized genomic approach to diagnosis and treatment of disease is feasible. However, discovering the role of altered DNA sequences in various disease states will be a challenging task. The genomic approach offers great promise for diseases, such as pancreatic cancer, in which the effect of current diagnostic and treatment modalities is disappointing. To facilitate the characterization of the genome of pancreatic cancer, high-quality and well-annotated tissue repositories are needed. This article summarizes the basic principles that guide the creation of such a repository, including sample processing and preservation techniques, sample size and composition, and collection of clinical data elements.