Electronic Lab Notebooks – Quick Guide
An electronic lab notebook is an electronic computer program developed to replace traditional paper lab notebooks. Many professionals, scientists, engineers, and technologists often use lab notebooks to record important research, tests, and procedures conducted in a scientific laboratory.
There are many reasons why electronic lab notebooks are preferred. In scientific and engineering fields, the ability to save much of the data and the ease of transferring the data between computers have become a common requirement.
Some fields are also very fast paced and this need to transfer data quickly is also very crucial for their professional lives. In many fields, one has to work closely with numerous different people to complete a project. This can cause an engineer to miss some information in a particular research project because he did not manage the information in his computer system.
When the information gets corrupted, it makes it hard for the engineer to carry out the experiment properly.
With electronic lab notebooks, a scientist or a lab technician will not lose any important data due to data corruption. This is another reason why many people prefer to use these types of notebooks over conventional ones. Most electronic notebooks come with a variety of features which make them more efficient when it comes to data storage and transfer.
Electronic lab notebooks are generally quite expensive compared to paper versions. This is due to the fact that they are much heavier and require much more space than paper ones. They also have to be packed in protective paper sleeves to prevent them from getting scratched up in case of rough handling. Electronic lab notebooks are available in various sizes and you can choose one depending on the size of the laboratory where you will be using it.
Advantages of Electronic Versus Paper Lab Notebooks
Over the last decade, the growing trend towards electronic lab notebooks has dramatically increased, replacing traditional paper-based record keeping by a large margin.
From biology to engineering, from medical and legal to accounting and finance, it is clear that the pros and cons of digital applications are vast. Whether you are a seasoned life science researcher or a first-year graduate student, you have likely participated in the great debate of electronic versus paper lab notebooks at some point or other.
The primary benefit of using electronic notebooks is the flexibility it provides, making it easy to add new experiments as they arise or simply to reorganize your research and report your results. Paper-based notebooks often contain several versions of your experiment written down, but often times, these are not interchangeable and difficult to change in the future.
Also, there is the issue of having to return every single page of paper lab notebook to your faculty or advisor, and this can be time-consuming and frustrating. Using an electronic lab notebook system, on the other hand, allows you to save every single result in a central database, which makes it easy to retrieve information at a later date when it is needed.