Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN)


 Electronic lab notebook (ELN) software allows scientists to access, search and share results of their experiments. An ELN is essentially a computer program that is meant to replace traditional paper laboratory notebooks so that scientists and researchers can search their records more easily and have more efficient means to backup and copy their data onto other electronic devices. ELNs encourage collaboration, as it is possible for multiple researchers or scientists to view lab data at the same time. ELNs also have the capacity to work alongside other research instruments so that additional data can be incorporated quickly and efficiently. ELNs should be supported by strong security measures to ensure that the data and the researchers’ process of creating the data are not jeopardized in any way. Additionally, ELNs should be flexible to change if a particular research process is altered or new data is required. This flexibility is best addressed when developing the specific software for an ELN.

Further Resources

Bogdan K, Flowers T. (2014). There’s an App for That: Electronic Lab Notebooks: Supporting Laboratory Data in the Digital Era(link is external). Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 76. doi.org/10.5062/F4V9861X

Giles J. (2012). Lab-management software and electronic notebooks are here — and this time, it’s more than just talk(link is external). Nature, 481(7382):430.

Macdonald S, Macneil R. (2015). Service Integration to Enhance Research Data Management: RSpace Electronic Laboratory Notebook Case Study(link is external). International Journal of Digital Curation, 10(1). doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v10i1.354

Myers JD. (2003). Collaborative Electronic Notebooks as Electronic Record: Design Issues for the Secure Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN)(link is external).

Rubacha M, Rattan AK, Hosselet SC. (2011). A review of electronic laboratory notebooks available in the market today(link is external). Journal of Laboratory Automation, 16(1):90–8.

Raths D. (2006). Scientists take a closer look at ELNs(link is external). Information Today.

Wang T, Vezenov DV. (2014). Use of a Wiki-Based Software to Manage Research Group Activities(link is external). Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 77. doi.org/10.5062/F4KS6PJ1

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