Electronic lab notebooks (ELN) function like paper notebooks, but in a more advanced and efficient way. They allow users to input and record text, tables, numerical data, hyperlinks, equations and images into electronic storage (computer, cloud or server) from a keyboard, a sketchpad, a mouse, or directly from scientific instruments. Most web-based ELNs also work as an ideal collaboration tool, facilitating quick communication among collaborators in different geographic locations for joint experiments and research programs.
In terms of data management, ELNs can help scientists:
For Lehigh users, the team collaboration software Confluence can perform well as an ELN. This web-based software has many great features with respect to editing and searching notes, adding attachments, making comments, exporting records, access and version control, adding tools and extensions, etc. First-time users, please see the Confluence resources below.
Concerning use of Confluence for ELN and other research management purposes, see the paper by Prof. Dmitri Vezenov (Chemistry Department), Ting Wang (CLIR Fellow), and Brian Simboli (Science Librarian) on Use of a Wiki-Based Software to Manage Research Group Activities.
To meet a member of Lehigh's web and mobile services team to discuss setting up and using Confluence for research purposes, please go here, scroll down to Web and Mobile Apps Development, and submit a consultation request.
Giles, J. (2012). Going paperless: The digital lab. Nature, 481(7382), 430-431.
Machina, H. K., & Wild, D. J. (2013). Electronic Laboratory Notebooks Progress and Challenges in Implementation. Journal of laboratory automation.
Rubacha, M., Rattan, A. K., & Hosselet, S. C. (2011). A review of electronic laboratory notebooks available in the market today. Journal of the Association for Laboratory Automation, 16(1), 90-98.
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