The Acronym Architecture Series
Article Four: ELN (Electronic Laboratory Notebook)
Lab software products are often identified by acronyms meant to differentiate them from one another, but the sheer volume of software available can leave decision-makers feeling confused and overwhelmed about what tools are truly required to be modern, compliant and efficient.
In the last edition of this informational series, we examined LIMS software (Laboratory Information Management Systems). This week, we’ll examine ELNs (Electronic Laboratory Notebooks).
ELN (Electronic Laboratory Notebook)
In laboratory environments, ELNs or Electronic Lab Notebooks are becoming increasingly common. Standard practice dictates that researchers document their experimental process and results and because these notes are subject to regulatory review, a digital version provides an easily traceable record. There are a wide range of ELN products available as well as similar software with different acronyms such as ERNs (Electronic Research Notebooks) and SDMS (Scientific Data Management Systems). Regardless of the nomenclature, the goal of these platforms is to securely store and centralize scientific data in a way that creates an easily accessible record.
Many ELN products are now available as cloud-based solutions which lowers the barrier to adoption since IT support is not as intensive for implementation. Information can be shared globally in a secure manner and digital templates allows for protocols to be reproduced in a much more efficient manner. Common features of ELNs include:
- Protocol templates
- Data management and searchability
- Inventory management
- Tools for collaboration
- E-signature and security features
- Integration with other software tools
These features translate to significant benefits for the organization using an ELN. As labs digitize their processes, adoption of a tools like an ELN offer enhanced productivity, improved data security, reduction of error, and risk avoidance via:
- Data population via direct connection with instrumentation improves efficiency and productivity
- Enhanced data integrity through direct connection with instruments
- Traceability and reproducibility of experimental results via digitization
- Improved collaboration and cross-learning with a centralized platform of data
- Enhanced security and compliance with a validated system
If you’re looking to move from a paper-based system to a digital solution, it is important to consider factors such as costs, compliance with your regulators, availability of on-going support, and ease of adoptability. With proper due diligence, you should have no problem selecting the right product for your lab.
To learn more about digitization strategies and how they might benefit your laboratory, contact the Qualer team.
Up next in this series: Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)