Using an Electronic Lab Notebook

Lab notebooks are good for writing down procedures, observations, conclusions and for drawing flow charts and diagrams by hand. However, in order to accommodate the increase of digital data collected, researchers have taped instrumentation and computer printouts onto the pages of their notebooks, or cross-referenced larger data sets by recording file names and locations in the notebook.

An Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) is a software tool that in its most basic form replicates an interface much like a page in a paper lab notebook. In this electronic notebook you can enter protocols, observations, notes, and other data using your computer or mobile device. This offers several advantages over the traditional paper notebook.