Electronic lab notebooks have recently become commonplace in most labs. Thanks to this development, there are a large number of functionalities and features that have opened up to majority of the researchers, streamlining their regular activities. Nevertheless, just as with any other transition, using an electronic lab notebook also comes with several things to consider. If you’re someone who owns a lab and you’re thinking of getting a digital lab notebook, here are few things you should bear in mind. Keep reading to know more. For more info you can visit labguru.com.
What is an Electronic Lab notebook?
An ELN is a tool that replicates an interface which looks similar to a page of a paper lab notebook. In case of an electronic lab notebook, you can enter digital observations, protocols, notes and different other data utilizing your mobile or your laptop. Since it is entirely digital, there are many benefits over the conventional paper notebooks. Keep scrolling to know more on them.
Digital lab notebook – What is the cost?
Since the last few years, there have been several digital lab notebooks available online. While there are some like SciNote and LabGuru that are the clear winners in this space, but they both require paid subscription in order to give you the benefits of their overall features and functionality.
On the contrary, the existing software that comes free of cost and that you already have are Evernote or OneNote, which are also used inside labs. Due to the plethora of options, it is imperative to make the right choice of digital lab notebook based on the functions that you actually need.
What does your lab need from an ELN?
In order to make it easier to understand what exactly your lab needs from an ELN, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself.
- Do you only need to take digital notes or you want other functions as well?
An effortless way of organizing and taking down digital notes is offered by tools like OneNote, as already mentioned above. But this might not be enough for you. Majority of the ELNs are lab-friendly and they help you jot down notes and organise them in a right position in the data structure. If you’re familiar with the structure and logic of the software, jotting down notes will become intuitive.
- Is the ELN user-friendly?
Being a smart lab owner, it is recommended that you select a digital lab notebook that doesn’t need extensive training or complicated integration before you’re all set to use it. Before you choose an ELN, check out the website that you’re interested in. You can find videos and screenshots that can assist you with the basic way in which the software works. There are some companies that provide functional versions of the digital notebook for free.
- As your data is in ELN, does it allow search option to search through all data?
Is it possible to locate your data easily? Does the software display search results in an extensive manner? One of the biggest benefits of ELNs is advanced search as against paper notebooks. If the data is organized in a place, you can find and access your stored data by typing the keyword. The benefits of this can be seen when the person is out of the laboratory. Rather than having to search for the notes, you can just use the search option.
- Is it possible to create reports with the help of ELN?
The easiest way of summarizing your project results for meetings, partners, supervisors, and reports is through an ELN. Who likes spending time in writing? Check out the options that are enabled by ELN (more info) when it comes to reporting data? Is there an automated process of designing reports with the ELN? What sort of data are included in the report if you wish to use it in the ELN?
So, all the above-mentioned questions should be first answered before you start using an ELN for your smart lab.
Last Updated: February 18, 2022