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.
  • 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.