What is an ELN?
An electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) is a software tool that replicates a traditional paper lab notebook. ELNs can provide a digital format with functions such as timestamps, templates, searching, and collaboration. There are many ELNs currently available that come with a wide range of functions. The price and functions of an ELN will vary by provider. Choosing a software will depend on the needs of your lab.
|supports collaboration||long-established methods of analog lab notebooks create a barrier|
|facilitates documentation||paper notebooks may seem easier to use (short term)|
|facilitates reproducibility||some labs restrict what devices are allowed into the lab|
|may integrate with other digital tools|
Readings assessing the value of ELNs
Readings on choosing an ELN
From Harvard Data Management: The Electronic Lab Notebook Matrix has been created to aid HMS researchers in the process of identifying a usable ELN solution to meet their specific research needs. Through this resource, researchers can compare and contrast the numerous solutions available today, and also explore individual options in-depth. Click on the matrix below to expand the table and see detailed descriptions of each resource.
There are many different ELNs to choose from and each differs in cost, functionality, and user experience. It’s useful to start by thinking about your needs before looking at different products. Here are some questions to consider when selecting an ELN.
What is an ELN?
An electronic lab notebook, also known as electronic research notebook, or ELN, is a computer program designed to replace paper laboratory notebooks.
A lab notebook stores a primary record of research used to document hypotheses, experiments, observations, and analysis and interpretation of experimental activity. Lab notebooks also have a secondary Intellectual Property protection purpose and are often used in patent prosecution.
Transition to electronic systems may help researchers preserve the integrity of their primary data with minimal effort and ensures the processes used to publish outcomes are transparent and reproducible.
Does LabArchives require installation of software or is it a web-based application?
LabArchives is a web-based application.
Is LabArchives both Mac and PC compatible?
Yes, you can access on any device. There is also a Mobile App for iOS and Android: http://labarchives.kayako.com/Knowledgebase/List/Index/226/7-la-mobile-apps-and-3rd-party-applications
Is the data format proprietary?
You can export data to PDF or HTML. More information about offline notebooks is available at: http://labarchives.kayako.com/Knowledgebase/Article/View/53/0/68-create-offline-notebook