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March 10, 2022
Lab Notebook Template - How to Keep Your Lab Notebook Organized in 2022
lab-notebook-management
Lab notebooks are used to store all research data and a vital for clinical research. Digitizing your lab notebook can reduce errors and improve efficiency.

What Are Lab Notebooks?

A laboratory notebook is a permanent primary record of all clinical trials, medical tests, and experiments conducted in the lab. During these processes, lab technicians record data, observations, and results so that the information can be stored, shared, and reproduced.

Maintaining an up-to-date lab notebook helps with the workflow and reproducibility of experiments. The main components of a lab notebook are:

  • Table of contents: The first few pages of the notebook should be kept blank so that lab members can create a table of contents as they fill the book with information
  • Project names: As well as the project name, this section should include the date and time.
  • Annotations: These are summaries or evaluations of the trial or experiment being undertaken.
  • The data: This should include the method and results of the trial or experiment including graphs, formulae, and images.
  • List of collaborations: This should include the type of collaboration, for example, internal, external, team, or virtual, and all members involved.

In this article, we will review electronic lab notebooks and discuss the importance of lab notebook templates.

Advantages of Electronic Lab Notebooks

An electronic lab notebook (ELN), also known as a digital lab notebook, is a software solution that is designed to replace a paper lab notebook or basic spreadsheet. They are used by scientists in many fields, particularly in the life sciences. ELNs have numerous advantages, and some labs prefer to use a database such as Excel. However, this type of spreadsheet has its limitations. A fully digitized lab notebook, on the other hand, has many more advantages, including:

  • Notebook entries can be edited after being written
  • Data management is error-free
  • Streamlined workflow for all users
  • The option to add subpages
  • Archiving becomes a simple process
  • Searching for information is quick and efficient
  • Information can be shared in real-time
  • Collaboration is easy thanks to a unified data repository

Why Lab Notebook Templates Are Important

Lab notebook templates are one of the many useful features of ELNs. Templates can be used across different notebooks and provide a very good way of standardizing data entry. If your lab adopts notebook templates as soon as you implement your ELN, you will soon see the following advantages.

Speeds up your workflow

The best way to implement them to speed up your workflow is to create templates that are robust yet flexible enough to be used across a wide range of study and trial types. This way, no time is wasted setting up pages for each research project. Even subpages can be set up beforehand.

Furthermore, thanks to templates, not only don’t researchers have to rewrite protocols, but they can also minimize human error by transferring new templates across to new projects. This ensures safety and compliance regulations are met.

Streamlines data management

In today’s modern laboratory, optimizing lab information systems is a top priority. Using an ELN is a sure way to streamline data management. Because all documents and printouts are built from the same template, once team members are familiar with one, they are familiar with them all.

All data is under the principal investigator as they manage the templates in the ELN and are responsible for the template protocols, so that consistency is maintained. Archiving templates into predetermined folders is easy, which facilitates data retrieval and sharing. This also enhances collaboration between team members and between teams.

Ensures Maximum Reproducibility

ELN templates provide centralized digital data management, allowing other teams to understand your research project better. It also gives your team members the ability to share data in multiple formats so that peers or other research teams can reproduce tests and trials with maximum accuracy and safety.

Because all research is archived permanently in the ELN database, with a complete revision history, projects can be reproduced with complete efficacy.

Top 3 ELNs to Consider

There is a wide array of digital lab notebooks out there. Choosing one can seem overwhelming. Here are some important things to bear in mind when you’re considering implementing an ELN:

  • Get to know what’s out there: Reading comparative reviews and software summaries can help you get a better picture of your options.
  • Find ELNs within your budget: Not all ELNs are created equal. Make sure that you don’t end up paying for an ELN that has features you’re not going to use.
  • Check your legal requirements: Some funding bodies place restrictions on where information is stored, so make sure your ELN’s data storage is compliant.
  • Think about integration: Consider the essential software you use in your lab and find out if it will integrate with your preferred ELN.

Here is a rundown on three of the top ELNS on the market today.

Benchling

Benchling ELN is a user-friendly software solution that allows for sharing of notebook entries. All data entries can be directly populated with results from instruments running and linked to other entries. Some of the main features include:

  • Task management through to-do lists
  • Editing through a single Benchling interface
  • Ability to build tables within notebook entries
  • Synchronization with Microsoft OneDrive
  • Sharing of notebook entries
  • Full standardization across template entries
  • Audit trails for the review process
  • Cross-collaboration with other Benchling users
Protocols.io

Protocols.io offers a platform that enables scientists and researchers to easily share reproducible methods. Organization and collaboration are made easy and human error can be minimized with the use of templates. Some of the main features include:

  • A centralized online management platform for revising notebook entries in real-time
  • Interactive dynamic protocols
  • Access to notebook pages via desktop or mobile
  • Easy protocol sharing with peers, collaborators, or the public
  • Real-time communication and interaction
  • Pairing with Google Drive or DropBox
Genemod’s ELN Software

Genemod offers ELN software that has a centralized dashboard, to optimize data management. Collaborators can organize data, track progress, and set priorities for lab projects. Once work is uploaded to the protocol library, it can be shared with other researchers. Some of the main features include:

  • Centralized dashboard with shared real-time access to updates
  • Easy cross-over and connection with each notebook page
  • Permanent archiving for future sharing of reproducible experiments
  • A virtual workspace allowing organization and sharing of all experimental protocols
  • Real-time collaboration to reduce human error
  • Secure storage of data for future retrieval

Upgrade Your Templates with an ELN from Genemod

Because you want your lab to run as efficiently as possible, changing from paper lab notebooks to a digitized notebook is a sound solution. Not only will it save your team time, but it will also reduce the risk of human error, increase safety and compliance, and facilitate collaboration and data sharing.

An ELN software solution from Genemod will streamline and simplify all your experimental processes. It’s intuitive and easy to use, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time training your team during the transition from paper to digital. Contact our team at Genemod today to find out more about how we can help you bring your lab into the future with digitization.

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