This toolbox goes through the various options for electronic lab notebooks available. Although paper notebooks are still popular, use of an ELN comes with a number of advantages, including easy integration with equipment in the lab, clean imports of data, smart organization of your tasks and projects, and the ability to easily collaborate and discuss with your fellow lab members. Most ELN software also comes equipped with thorough inventory and sample management pipelines as well as robust tools to work with scientific reagents (i.e. plasmid mapping, importing complex data, etc.). They're definitely worth checking out and they are worth the learning curve that may come in your lab as they allow for significantly increased efficiency and productivity. We've included 5 of our favorite options here.
Labguru integrates an electronic lab notebook, LIMS, inventory management, automation, and informatics from different sources into one easy-to-use platform. It’s the ultimate lab operations and data management solution. It includes all the features you need to streamline your experiments and improve efficiency dramatically, and is definitely a favorite among all the ELN options out there.
This is one of our favorite ELN options. It provides multiple options for managing your inventory, data, and tasks, and provides flexible blank notebooks that can be structured for anything you want. It has a limited version that is free for academic use and has additional paid features including detailed inventories, plasmid management, data management, and workflows. This is another tool that is absolutely worth trying out, especially if you're looking for a feature-rich but free option.
This is a notebook that focuses on time management and efficiency. It comes with an interactive task manager, project manager, and inventory manager to keep you maximally organized. It also allows you to generate protocols and reports specific to your project. This is an incredibly widely used and popular tool that is absolutely worth checking out. Some of the biggest companies and labs in the world use it (think Qiagen, FDA, NIH, etc.)
Sapio LIMS is a lab management system with all the features of any standard ELN. However, the main breakthrough with this program is that it allows multiple scientists to work on the same experiment at the same time. Think about it like the google docs of scientific work. If your lab depends on multiple people working on multiple parts of a single project or experiment, this may be for you.
This is a relatively new ELN marketed as "future-proof". It's certainly packed with features - from management of stock, reagents, equipment, to detailed options for types of drawings and content you can insert, to great workflow, collaboration, and sharing tools. They are offering a free trial that's worth checking out and playing with!