10 Feb Guide to Digital Lab Notebooks
To ensure effective transformation and gain organisational success, laboratories are using Digital Lab Notebooks as a core part of their research activities. No matter if it is a process industry or a pharmaceutical laboratory, to bring innovation, you need to adopt a sophisticated digital platform to facilitate team collaboration, research data organisation, and interpretation.
Are you fretting about software? Whether you are a novice or a tech giant, to take your organisation and research works to the cutting edge, there is no better way than utilising the effectiveness of Digital Lab Notebooks.
Let me introduce you to this widely-used platform and offer the best guide.
What is a Digital Lab Notebook?
A Digital Lab Notebook, commonly known as an Electronic Lab notebook (ELN), is a digital program essentially created to facilitate laboratory works by allowing users to enter protocols, analyse unstructured data and workflows, and collaborate with the team. As replication of paper notebooks, it organises scientific data digitally, offers data visualisation and absolute protection.
Best Features of a Digital Lab Notebook
A Digital Lab Notebook is a popular and widespread electronic data organisation tool that almost all labs worldwide use for ensuring efficient operations.
The features and functionalities of each program are different. But the must-have features all electronic research notebooks should come with include:
To ensure your lab is operating with full-pace, you need to digitise its activities. If you wonder about which devices you can use to make this program to work, let me clear this fact.
A significant specialty of such cloud-based software is that it is compatible with any device, no matter if you are signing in with the office computer, tablet, iPhone, or smartphone, and accessible from all leading browsers.
Easy to Get Started
An efficient Digital Laboratory Notebook is effortless to get started, handy enough to use, and offers convenient yet efficient interfaces.
The digital notebook must come with the assurance of safe transport of valuable organisational information and permitting access by enforcing multiple verification systems and electronic signatures, safeguarding user credentials, etc.
Another vital feature of online notebook tools is to give thorough security to the users through protecting laboratory data from fraudsters and unauthorised access. They should come with a backup and data retrieval facility also.
A quality digital notebook solution should comply with FDA CFR 21 Part11 to come with enough integrity to bypass the deletion and extraction of data by scammers through audit trials, combining with time stamping and version control.
How to Choose the Right Digital Lab Notebook
You may feel selecting a quality online tool difficult when there are so many products in the market. To help you choose the best one compatible with your requirements, I am offering here a quick checklist:
- Understand Your Needs and Challenges: For storing, tracking, and managing a large amount of information and documents and standardising the processes, there is no alternative to a featureful Digital Lab Notebook. But before you count on a program, ensure addressing your challenges and the facilities you expect from the software.
- Calculate Expenses: Do you assume that the free versions can be the go-to lab companion? For complete digitisation, you must spend on a paid one. Paid versions come with superior features, including higher data storage, better security, auto-updates, etc. When there are plenty of products, before picking one, compare the subscription fees associated with all software and choose the most competent one.
- Consider Software Integration: It is a vital factor you need to consider before selecting a particular program. For example, while executing a process and listing data in your Digital Laboratory Notebook, what if you suddenly require knowing about the sample location? If you choose an online notebook that can get integrated effortlessly with LIMS, you can also get information about inventory besides analytical results. Interfacing this program with other essential software can make operations run more seamlessly.
- Go for a Test Drive: Before you pay for specific software, explore their free version, try the various features and pick the most suitable product wisely.
- Count on Flexibility: Count on the flexibility and customisation the software offers while spending on it. Pick a program that comes with an API for instrument integration, adopts processes through configuration, allows adding texts, charts, photos, etc.
Digital Lab Notebook: Best Practices
To ensure you are enjoying the best throughput, adopt the following best practices while operating the program.
- Do Strategic Planning: Before implementing a digital notebook in your experiment, you must gather thorough knowledge about the lab’s operating system and the experts’ needs associated with collecting, analysing, and handling information. Ensuring comprehensive workflow analysis is an excellent step to make your organisation triumphant via utilising Digital Lab Notebooks.
- Keep The Software as the Central Integration Point: A digital notebook has the supreme power to revolutionise an industry. If you intend to normalise the experiments and facilitate data administration and sharing, ensure designing the lab scheme keeping the Digital Lab Notebook at the center of integration. Such a system offers effortless integration of various software like LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System), and SDMS (Scientific Data Management System), allowing smooth data accessibility to the team.
- Learn Documenting Your Research Accurately: Once you purchase the program, make sure you educate your team on handling and utilising it accurately. Unless you can record the research works perfectly, you cannot use its reproducibility facility for further analysis.
- Keep an Eye on the Security: Not all electronic notebooks come with the same security measures. The information of your investigation is confidential, and you cannot afford to lose it. Always prioritise security and judge if the software you are purchasing is ISO/IEC 27001 verified and compatible with FDA regulations. Its multi-level verification ensures only authorised users can access data and checks the identity through electronic signatures.
Pros and Cons
Pros of Digital Lab Notebooks
The surpassing facilities and benefits coming with a Digital Lab Notebook include:
- Digital Lab Notebooks come with various data organising tools that make the experimental works effortless and easygoing. Tagging the files is an excellent benefit of this software.
- Modern Digital Lab Notebooks save the raw data, archive it, and ensure retrieval.
- It is a complete replacement for paper lab notebooks that can automate labs worldwide, assuring efficient data handling, process analysis, and whatnot!
- With the searchability feature, you now have the facility to find any result, sheet, or file only by searching with the name.
- Many Digital Lab Notebooks feature real-time team collaboration that facilitates operations by leaps and bound.
- Digital Lab Notebooks expedites regulatory compliance by providing thorough data audit trials. It makes quality assurance, quality control, and experiment history tracking effortless.
- Automatic report generation is a praiseworthy quality of modern Digital Lab Notebooks.
- Protecting your IP is a significant part of this software.
- Advanced programs support both centralised cloud-hosted data storage and private-cloud systems to keep your data and results saved.
Cons of Digital Lab Notebooks
The few cons are:
- The multi-tenant framework of storing data on the cloud is prone to hacking sometimes.
- The frequent changes and updates in the Digital Lab Notebook may not make present file formats, interfaces, and features available in the future.
- All high-quality programs come with a certain fee.
The Best Digital Lab Notebook
To harmonise with the rapid revolution and advancement in technology, you must automate your organisation by adopting a digital notebook program. If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, there is no better option than Digital Lab Notebook by Sapio Sciences.
It is a scalable informatics platform that comes with so many facilities:
- Easy workflow configuration through drop and drag
- Tracking complicated workflows to get adapted with different processes has become so convenient with the Exemplar like never before!
- Exemplar digital notebook offers seamless collaboration, real-time messaging, and editing of the same page by multiple scientists concurrently!
- It focuses on improving ROI through scalability
- Integrated data analytic and visualisation tools make the R&D endeavors thriving.
Automating the research activities of an organization is the call of time nowadays. Utilising the benefits of a Digital Lab Notebook can let your lab gain the expected success.
The thorough guide I have offered here can be your game-changer in selecting the best program.