random thoughts on science and tech... yeah, it used to be about electronic lab notebooks but that was a decade ago

The next step: A real 'e-lab-book'!?

 


   Everyone is always looking for the next big thing. In cell phones maybe it’s fast, touch screen internet, in stocks/business maybe it’s alternative power, in politics maybe it’s a minority(race/gender) in the white house.

 

   But, what is the next big thing for the world of ELNs?
Maybe it’s eELNs, web-based ELNs, e-lab-books (my personal favorite moniker), any other ideas for a catchy name?….

 

   Okay, okay. Sure ELNs haven’t even taken a strangle hold in labs yet. But the reality is the shift from the traditional lab notebook to electronic data is very wide spread, people simply don’t recognize it as an ELN (and continue to keep a traditional lab notebook for some reason).

 

   So what’s next?

 

   With my ‘Onenote ELN’ I have experimented with publishing to the web (on this site you can check out some of my masters research). Not bad, but not at all interactive. I certainly wouldn’t attempt to record using such a setup.

 

   In my current PhD research, I keep my ‘Onenote ELN’ on a shared network drive and can feasibly use it, record to it, peruse it at different computers. But only in the lab, and only if they have Onenote as well (can’t write freehand unless the computer is a tablet).

 

   There are some web solutions out there. Labtronics, for instance, at paperlesslab.com, have a nice looking idea with their web based ELN (e-lab-book :)). I think you could easily set it up to be pretty flexible (or rigid for those undergrad researchers you get every semester). They don’t have the ability to write using a pen/stylus like in Onenote, or all the easy formating options of Onenote, but I think one could actually do that.

 

   Over at Gottabemobile.com and todoUMPC.com they have integrated the ability to write using your tablet PC to the forums, you can actually ‘ink’ messages. Such an application could be integrated into an e-lab-book! Also maybe the pen/paper idea of Adapx (see earlier post) could be integrated as well, so that you could just upload your pen data to your e-lab-book on the web.

 

   This would be great for academia, for instance, if you were to visit and work in another lab for a week or two. While your learning a new technique you would have access to all your info!

 

   Anyway, to have everything integrated (such as the ability to ink, use the Adapx pen, …) is more of a dream. But my fortune teller’s prediction is that the NEXT BIG THING IS ELNs ON THE WEB.

 

What do you think?

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