What is a lab notebook? Traditionally, these have been bound, paper volumes used to record day-to-day activities, experimental plans and compliance information in scientific laboratories. They are an essential element of any well-run lab. However, they are also easy to stain, singe or lose, and finding one particular note in a series of volumes can be a trial.
Other options are out there
Electronic lab notebook (ELN) systems make it much easier to search research records and can hold digital data from instrumentation directly (paper lab notebooks often feature a lot of glued-in printouts). They also make retention of records much less space-intensive; often a lab will have cupboards full of old notebooks stretching back for years, simply to meet basic compliance requirements from the University and funders. And what about those unforeseeable accidents? Well, electronic lab notebooks are safely backed-up every day.
During 2018, Oxford signed up to a site licence for LabArchives, to provide a cloud-based ELN solution, available to all Oxford researchers, approved for use with all Oxford research data. Happily, the initial phase of this service has been popular with Oxford researchers - more than 1,300 users have signed up and over 500 of these are active each month. As a result of this success, the Research Support Team in IT Services has agreed an ongoing funding model with the Divisions to provide the ELN service for the foreseeable future.
Try out an ELN for yourself
If you would like to try LabArchives, visit our electronic lab notebook web page for information on getting started. You can also email our research support team if you have questions about LabArchives at Oxford, or would like to meet to discuss your requirements. Our Research Support Team will be happy to show you the ropes and answer any questions you might have.