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ELNs Electronic Laboratory Notebooks: Implemention at Other Institutions

University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States

ELNs TESTED- eCAT and CERF (now Irisnote)

PARTICIPANTS were mainly graduate students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, School of Engineering, School of Medicine and Public Health and the College of Letters and Sciences.

PROCEDURE involved training. A pre- and post- survey was conducted. The ELNs were used for three months. Both products were hosted on university servers.

RESULTS eCAT was prefered over CERF because it was easier to use. Regardless of the ELN used participants indicated that an "ideal ELN interface is one that provides basic functionality and is easy to customize." Except maybe for the chemists, researchers were not wedded to having an ELN specifically designed for their disciplines.


Karolinska Institute, Sweden

ELNs TESTED- ilabber was introduced to researchers

PARTICIPANTS- This institute is a medical university.

PROCEDURE- This was not a study comparing ELNs, but implementation of ELNs after implementing LIMS.

RESULTS- Within six months 500 researchers were using iLabber. Success was due to a combination of factors; (1) centrally financing the implementation of the ELN, (2) demonstrating to researchers the benefits of ELNs vs. paper, (3) have a liaison, who knows the science, working to facilitate discussions between IT and researchers, and (4) select a flexible system.


University of Otago, New Zealand

ELNs TESTED- eCAT Seems the pilot was started with eCAT because of the results of at the Univ of Wisconsin-Madison. They may be testing ELNs sequentially.

PARTICIPANTS- five departments within the Division of Health Sciences.

PROCEDURE - Pre- and post-surveys will be administered. ELNs hosted on university servers. Participants will be testing the ELN on  Android tablets, iPads and laptops. 

RESULTS -  This pilot is ongoing until July 2013. Results from the pre-survey include reasons for wanting to use an ELN (1) lab turnover; making sure the data stays in the lab, (2) provide backup, and (4) provide a centralized data repository to faciliate the analysis of data. Features that were deemed most imporatant were (1) privacy for clinical data, (2) automatic backup, (3) a flexible system, and (4) user friendly system. The cost of the system to the researchger was a concern.


U.S. National Institutes of Health

ELNs TESTED- Sparklix, CERF (now Irisnote) and LabArchives

PARTICIPANTS- 100 volunteers at NIH laboratories.

PROCEDURE - Pre- and post-surveys were conducted.

RESULTS- The participants preferred LabArchives. Respondents to the post-survey indicated that one system for all types of research was not workable.A large-scale study with LabArchives is planned.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION- none, information from NIH minutes.

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