Presentation Open Access

Electronic Lab Notebooks: turning a new page in laboratory research

Esther Plomp

This is the introduction presentation for a workshop on Electronic Lab Notebooks by Esther Plomp for the "FAIR Data - the Key to Sustainable Research" seminar at Tartu University Library on the 10th of April 2019.

Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN) are digital equivalents of traditional paper notebooks used by researchers to document their experiments and provide information on the date, purpose, methodology, used materials, step by step actions, notes about any issues experienced, key findings and more. Compared to paper notebooks, ELNs are searchable, easily shared, automatically backed up and allow the documentation of changes (version history). Many ELNs offer features that enable data management, collaboration and communication, and integration with other software. However, the amount and complexity of ELNs may complicate choosing the right product, as they each provide a unique set of tools to make your work easier and more effective. This workshop introduces several ELNs and lists their costs, functionalities and degree of interoperability. Participants should bring their own laptop, and are encouraged to bring their paper lab books and/or protocols if possible, to get hands on experience with ELNs.

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