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Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNS)

Information about Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNS) for University of Rochester Community

ELN Focus Group

On September 15, 2014, Kathleen and Sue met with a mix of students and staff to brainstorm the anticipated advantages and disadvantages of ELNs. Read the full report here.

Missed the session and would like to share your thoughts? Contact us!

Advantages of ELNs

  • Sort by date
  • Seach by topic
  • Share
    • With who you want to
    • With your instructor
    • With your traveling Professor/ Advisor
  • Autosave
  • Documented Editing, Version History
  • Portability
  • Multimodal, ie. Images with text with data
  • Less physical space is required
  • Potential Backups and more secure (than paper)
  • Citing
  • Linking with web
  • Linking with previous entries
  • Tagging
  • Preparing students for industry
  • Readable
  • Integration with Instruments

Disadvantages of ELNs

  • Are ELNs as good for quick actions (e.g. jotting a note, drawing a diagram or sketch) as paper notebooks?
  • Cost
  • Compatibility with instruments?
  • Compatibility over time: will software updates conflict with older versions? Will we need to continually update our technology?
  • Possibility of making changes invisibly – need track changes or something similar
  • Legality issues? Can ELNs provide basis for patent?
  • Faculty buy-in: practices are transmitted person-to-person, younger/junior people learn from senior
  • Compliant with HIPAA or other regulations?
  • Hackable?
  • Learning curve – one more piece of software to learn
  • Collaboration: is it hard to collaborate if someone is using a different ELN software? With someone in a different discipline? Share outside the institution?
  • Standards? There aren’t any now; what happens if they arise?