E-lab notebooks

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Notes by Lynn Yarmey: e-Lab Notebooks and OMERO - image curation (http://openmicroscopy.org/site)

Discussed relationship with DMPs


  • people keep notebooks for many different purposes, have separate styles
  • extracting something from a notebook is dicey to start - so be clear on goal. For example: patent suit, 7Mil to go through paper notebooks consideration - can you prove provenance from burned CD copy?

Selection criteria:

  • affordability
  • ease of use
  • ease of access
  • length of trial
  • non-pharmaceutical-based
  • needs to work for users
  • curation components - export files, metadata standardization


  • CERF (by Rescentris)
  • Cambridge Soft (owns ChemDraw) - downside, cost plus lots of backend infrastrcuture; somewhat of a layer over Word and Excel. Cambridgesoft was recently bought by Perkin Elmer
  • Wiki + Google docs; digital lives study found big problems with legalities in cloud agreements, no promises about longevity, security, etc. If "the cloud" is an issue for you or your institution (citation needed?), you can run a local install of MediaWiki, Wordpress, and/or Etherpad.
  • University of Southampton projects with chemistry lab notebooks

Open Science vs. Other research approaches

Costs - how to compete with Amazon in terms of cost feasibility for basic file storage.

Phil recommends cloud for virtual machines for pulling out the data from boxes under the desk

  • need applications that are compatible
  • cloud-based applications

Additional criteria

  • uptake
  • backend maintenance (in addition to production archival copy)
  • files on disk

Issue - as soon as you export from a system to another system (ie. from lab notebook to an archive), you are creating a representation that isn’t usually round-tripable. So what exactly are you archiving? Tension between archival version and actual work.