Who Uses eCAT


Current Articles | RSS Feed

Andreas Johansson, Microbiological Laboratory, Campus Helsingborg, Lund University

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

http://www.axiope.com/electronic-lab-notebook/video/ecat_3.3.0/user/andreas/andreas.flv

“I chose eCAT because it’s really easy to get started with and use.  With eCAT it’s actually fun to take notes!”

About  Andreas’ work

“We are mainly working with lactic acid bacteria and we try and isolate it from the common honeybee.  We do a lot of common lab experiments and we also do a lot of outdoor experiments.  We also work with a lot of groups around the world.

Challenge

The most important challenge was inconsistent or messy notes.   Another big thing is missing protocols.  They are all over the place.  You might have one tacked to the wall, others in a binder, and at the time you need it someone has borrowed the binder or you can’t find it.  Some things are in your head and some things are in the lab notebook.  Before there were experiments in three different lab notebooks and another one belonged to one of my colleagues.

Solution

I use eCAT for everything in the laboratory when I need to make a note of anything.  I use it for my experiments and my protocols.  But I also use it for things I didn’t use it for before I had an electronic lab notebook.  I use it for digital photos, so protein gels, screenshots of my HPC runs, screenshots of the small things I see during my experiment.  Before I would have just made a small note about it, now I have a photo of it.  And I also add time stamps during an experiment so I can easily see at what point I did a certain thing.

Results

The main result is very very large quality improvements.  It also brings structure to your experiments automatically.  Since you are working with project folders you have your own experiments, and you also add protocols, and you add the data and you add whatever electronic stuff you get during the experiments to that folder.  So everything gets sorted by date and time.  It’s much more structure, automatically.

Now when you’ve done an experiment and you want to share it with a colleague, it’s much easier.  It’s structured from the beginning and it looks good.  You can easily print it, or print it electronically and send it to colleagues by email.  And for me it’s actually fun to take notes nowadays!  I take notes on everything just because it looks good in eCAT.  Nowadays the first thing I do is to start a new experiment in eCAT, even before I start the small preparatory things.

Another big thing is that I am able to access my data from outside the laboratory. I’ts completely web-based so you don’t need to install any software on your computer.  This also means that as long as you have access to a browser you can access eCAT.  It doesn’t matter if you are on Linux or Apple or a Windows system.  That’s really important for the future.

The main reason I chose eCAT is because its really easy to get started with and use.  If something is hard to get started with and easy to use a lot of people will just have a look at it and never get around to starting the first experiment.  eCAT is easy to use; it also means I can ask my colleagues to use it as well.

It’s also easily configurable and its easy to customize your experiments.  You can make your experiments and your protocols look whatever way you want them to.”

The modENCODE (model organism ENCyclopedia of DNA Elements) Project, which includes collaborating labs at University of North Carolina, University of Cambridge, University of California, Berkeley, San Diego, NimbleGen, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the Weizmann Institute, moved from spreadsheets to a wiki to eCAT

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

“We initially stored our data on a wiki using embedded spreadsheets. We soon learned that this was not a feasible option due to the complex structure of the data, and we started shopping around for alternatives. When we were tasked with searching for an alternative to the wiki, or free web-based alternatives, we found that they were lacking in features and/or support. Initially, we were looking into LIMS, but those platforms were highly specialized, very complex, and expensive. eCAT is a better fit for us because of the fairly intuitive UI, the ability for the database structure to be modified by the end user, cost, and importantly, customer service. We have been highly impressed with the level of customer service offered from Axiope. It is clear that they take pride in their product, are concerned about the customer’s experience and are always receptive to suggestions for feature additions and/or changes.

Due to the thoughtful UI of eCAT, it took little effort to get all wet lab members trained to use eCAT to facilitate data entry. Members of our labs have also been starting to use the e-notebook feature of eCAT. They find it very easy to enter their experiments and organize their data. They are starting to realize the power of allowing them to more natively integrate electronic sources of data (documents, images, web links, etc.), which was something not readily accomplished with a paper notebook.”

Andreas Johansson at Helsingborg Campus of Lund University talks about how easy it was to get started using eCAT.

Posted by Rory on June 30th, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

“I use eCAT for everything in the laboratory when I need to make a note of anything.  I use it for my experiments and my protocols.  But I also use it for things I didn’t use it for before I had an electronic lab notebook.  I use it for digital photos, so protein gels, screenshots of my HPC runs, screenshots of the small things I see during my experiment.  Before I would have just made a small note about it, now I have a photo of it.  And I also add time stamps during an experiment so I can easily see at what point I did a certain thing.  The main result is very very large quality improvements.  It also brings structure to your experiments automatically.  Since you are working with project folders you have your own experiments, and you also add protocols, and you add the data and you add whatever electronic stuff you get during the experiments to that folder.  So everything gets sorted by date and time.  It’s much more structure, automatically.

The main reason I chose eCAT is because its really easy to get started with and use.  If something is hard to get started with and easy to use a lot of people will just have a look at and never get around to starting the first experiment.  eCAT is easy to use; it also means I can ask my colleagues to use it as well.”