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What is an ELN?
An Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN) is much more than just a replacement for paper. It offers efficient data storage and retrieval of meta data, simplifies collaboration and data sharing, and supports compliance. Most ELNs are set up as cloud-based software, eliminating tedious manual processes and removing obstacles to timely communication.

Today, 75% of labs are interested in the technology. This number increases annually. Why?

For the lab professional, the paper notebook is like an old friend. The smell, the feel, the doodles in the margins are part of a long-standing tradition. But, what happens if you need to rely on it to quickly find a data set or re-create an experiment? What happens when it is lost?

ELN features
Data entry/integration—multiple formats supported, drag-and-drop, annotation, access data anywhere
Team collaboration—share protocols, templates, set team org structure, create projects
Data integrity/security—audit trail, search, tags/filters, time stamps
Compliance—meets GxP, ISO, FDA standards
Inventory management—set up unlimited lists, import/export

How does an ELN work with my LIMS?
An ELN stores meta data and some data can be exported to the LIMS to enable retrieval, sharing, and real-time communication and collaboration. ELNs are recognized by government and regulatory agencies, and can be used to support compliance.

What are the benefits of using an ELN?
According to an article in Current Biology, experimental records that are not being digitized account for a 17% loss of all research data. Paper-based lab books serve as bottlenecks in information management. They create repeatability threats, increased costs, and considerable limitations for knowledge sharing within an organization and the community.

ELNs correct these problems, and offer:

  • less ink wasted, secure, can’t be lost, destroyed or stolen
  • better quality images
  • less room for human error/no more difficulty in reading handwriting
  • ability to upload data directly from your phone using mobile apps
  • Data will be integrated into your experiment layout, meaning that there is less searching through files and folders as there is only one place to look for all the relevant information.
  • Ability to annotate data within the platform using sketching and labeling tool
  • Ease of sharing data with other team members automatically or in just a few clicks . Ability to go paperless, reducing the labs carbon footprint
  • Why not take your data to the next level by making your lab notebook digital?

Read about ATL’s agreement with ELN provider Labforward here.


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