Where is that data?
According to Dirnagl (1), most researchers are looking for these features in an electronic lab notebook (ELN) :
- Integration of different data types and notes
- An intuitive user interface
- Progress monitoring
Keeping track of all the data generated by experiments these days is a challenge.
Also, a graduate student can leave a lab and the Principal Investigator is at a loss to find key data.
Even then the simple passage of time can render findable data uninterpretable because key metadata about the data was never properly recorded.
The organization that an ELN can offer is an important advantage over paper notebooks, and can meet these challenges.
labElephant was designed by a research scientist for research scientists, to provide all of these features and to address all of these problems, with minimal extra burden on the researcher.
Key additional features, unique to labElephant, are the way in which the thinking behind experiments is preserved and how experimental hypotheses are explicitly incorporated.
These features can be used to easily create a record of progress over time, and, included in that record, how the experimental results were understood.
1. Dirnagl U, Przesdzing I, “A pocket guide to electronic laboratory notebooks in the academic life sciences”, F1000Res. 2016 Jan 4;5:2.
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What were you thinking?
The scientific literature is so vast that most scientists struggle to keep up with it.
Moreover, the sheer volume of significant results and conclusions can be hard to retain using only memory.
The published literature is only one such knowledge source.
Notes can be taken, of course, but finding and recapturing the critical points at a later time is not trivial.
Again, an ELN can help, if the notes are recorded in it.
labElephant uniquely incorporates knowledge that users have distilled from not only papers, but also conferences, seminars, and the web
- "Nuggets" encapsulate “bottom-line” thoughts gained from any of these knowledge sources
- A search in PubMed can net a collection of papers; Import into labElephant then allows Nuggets to be made from those papers
- A Nuggets search then yields a valuable trove of thoughts and conclusions that the user has had on every relevant paper, or other knowledge source
- Nuggets can be easily incorporated into "Ingots", with minimal retyping
- Ingots are like paragraphs, and are a synthesis of insights that can form the logical basis for an experiment, or a paragraph for a paper
- By association of an Ingot with an Experiment, experiments automatically retain their thought context
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Managing the lab
Principal Investigators (PIs) need to run an organized lab:
- An accurate inventory of materials needs to be kept, with a streamlined process for recording the discovery, ordering, storing, and retiring of materials
- Creation of reports for regulatory agencies is also important
- Materials and Methods used in the lab are key elements in any experiment: changes in these can impact experimental results in sometimes unexpected ways
- PIs need to track the work of lab personnel, including the progress of students, in order to properly manage lab effort and training
- Many labs are engaged in multiple investigations and projects, funded by different agencies, that different personnel are involved with
labElephant accommodates each of these organizational needs
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Intellectual property protection
These features of labElephant help protect your intellectual property:
- Limited system access to authorized individuals
- Secure, computer-generated, time-stamped audit trails to independently record the date and time of operator entries and actions that create, modify, or delete electronic records
- The ability to generate accurate and complete copies of records in both human readable and electronic form suitable for inspection
- Reports in labElephant automatically include audit trails for Figures, preserving the data interpretation important for establishing intellectual property claims
labElephant can thus provide an important part of your compliance with
Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Chapter 1 Subchapter A Part 11
One of the greatest hurdles to e-notebook adoption is the disruption involved in changing lab practices to conform with the new system.
The on-ramp for labElephant is made easy by these features:
- Data is left “in-place” on your local area network (LAN) lab folder
- The software can be tried out on a single computer by the PrincipaI Investigator before lab-wide adoption
- Lab-wide adoption on the LAN is initiated simply by the click of a button, to move the back end database onto the lab server, and obtaining a license
- Use on a single computer is always completely free of charge
- Network licenses are very affordable, and prices are geolocation-dependent
There is no better way to view the features of labElephant than to try it out for yourself!
Get your free lab software download of labElephant now, and once installed, just follow the “Getting started” instructions!
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