In the past six months both Cambridge and Harvard have compiled and published substantial overviews of electronic lab notebooks. As described below the formats are somewhat different, but each of these overviews is useful in its own way, and together they provide an important new resource for those interested in learning about ELNs. Also described below are resources from a major workshop on ELNs hosted by TU Delft in March, 2018.
The Cambridge overview was developed by the Gurdon Institute as an adjunct to a trial of four ELNs — RSpace, Scinote, Lab Archives and Open Science Framework — that were trialled by Cambridge researchers in 2017. It consists of two parts. The first is called Electronic Lab Notebooks – for prospective users, and has a general introduction to ELNs, followed by brief descriptions of a number of ELNs. The second is a Discussion Forum where researchers, not only from Cambridge, but from anywhere, can post about their experiences with particular ELNs. The discussion about the RSpace ELN is here.
The Harvard overview is the result of an intensive and extended research exercise undertaken by the Harvard Biomedical Data Management group in 2017. This involved obtaining feedback from researchers at Harvard Medical School, and extended conversations with ELN providers, culminating in the providers all completing a form with detailed questions about their offerings. The results were compiled in a very detailed feature/capability matrix, with listings for a large number of offerings. The RSpace entry is here.
Although of a different nature than the Cambridge and Harvard ELN matrices, TU Delft also recently made available a useful ELN resource, namely the materials from it’s March 2018 ELN workshop,. These include presentations and the results of an online questionnaire completed by workshop participants evaluating the four ELNs that were presented, RSpace, Hivebench, eLabJournal and Lab Folder.