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February 7, 2008
Write It Down, Write it Down
A couple of years ago, I wrote about electronic lab notebooks, and pointed out how much better they've made my record-keeping. My new job also uses an electronic platform, to my relief, and if anything it's better implemented than the one I was using before. It's clear to me, that software lab notebooks are the only way to go. Drawing the structures, setting up duplicate or related experiments, attaching all the data files from LC/MS and NMR, the ease of retrieval for patent filing purposes, the ability to search structures across a whole organization's experience - there's no substitute. (One thing they don't handle well, though is TLC data, which I was just talking about - anyone have a solution for that?) But that aside, going back to paper would be agonizing; a directive to use hardbound notebooks would induce terror and dismay.
Still, both of the electronic notebooks I've used are in-house jobs. I've had some mail wondering if I have any recommendations among the commercially available software, and that's a question I can't help out with at all. So I thought I'd throw this one out to the readership: what's worked for you? And how much did it cost? Is there anything open-source that'll do the job? (I've heard of Wetlab and OS-ELN, but know nothing more about them).
And here's another question, which is more of a poll. Are you using paper or pixels for your notebook? If you answer in the comments, which I'm glad to report seem to be working again, mention what kind of work you do and if it's in an academic or industrial setting. I'm curious to see if the expected correlations show up. . .
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