Short guide to using the Electronic Lab Notebook

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Getting started on the ELN

The ELN is very simple to use, but may be a little confusing until you know what options you have and which things you can afford to ignore. This is intended as a short guide for anyone using the ELN for the first time. It contains everything I have needed to know to keep all of my records using the ELN over a six week project.

1. Creating your blog. The first thing you will need to do is register, which you can do by clicking on login at the top left and choosing an appropriate account provider then following the prompts. 2. Once you’re logged in, the ‘new blog’ option will become available on the ELN home page. Click this and put in a name for your blog - this is a spot to choose your words carefully because as far as I know it’s not possible to edit the name later. 3. Once the new blog is made, it’s just a matter of creating entries. You need to be logged in, and click on your blog from the main page and then at the top of the menus on the right under 'This Blog’ will be the option ‘New Post’. Click this and the first blog editing screen will come up. Put in a title for the experiment including your experiment code, a short bit of text in the main box describing the reaction or whatever you want there, and then select ‘experiments’ from the ‘sections’ dropdown underneath the main box. You can then click submit. 4. Now if you click ‘edit post’ down at the bottom of the page you get access to the rest of the ELN features including the ability to upload data. So the first thing might be to upload an image of your reaction scheme. Once uploaded, files can’t be removed or edited (as far as I know), although they only appear in the text when you specifically choose. So it’s better to be fairly sure you’re happy with a file before you upload it to avoid cluttering the box, but if you put in something with a mistake you can always upload a new version. 5. The most useful tip for learning the overall features is probably to realise that if you look at other people’s blogs, at the bottom of each post where the ‘edit post’ link is on your own blog, will be a ‘view source’ button. This means you can look at anyone else’s blog and view the code for how they have produced any effect you want to replicate. That’s probably enough to work everything out pretty efficiently, but I’ve also made a short summary of all the things I actually use to make my own posts.

  • upload images by clicking ‘Upload data’ in the top right of the ‘Attached Files’ box at the bottom of the post. This brings up a dialog box where you need to ‘browse’ to find the file on your computer, and then put in to ‘Title’ whatever you want to appear written under your image when it displays in the text. I leave all the other entries on the defaults. Then click ‘submit query’.
  • There are links at the top of the page for bold, underline etc. as well as adding pictures. This just writes for you the bit of code needed for that function and then places your cursor in between the open and close codes where you need to enter the text.
  • To display the reaction scheme the add pictures tool works, or a slightly modified version of the code lets you set the size of the image:

<img src=”web address” width=”500“ />

Get the web address of the image you uploaded by clicking on the image in the ‘attached files’ box at the bottom of the post. The image will be displayed and at the bottom of the page is a “Download as PDF” link. Use the right mouse button dropdown to copy the link location and then paste it in over “web address” in the above bit of code. I usually use about 500-ish for the width setting depending on the size/shape of the image.

  • for spectra and TLC images I use the inbuilt ‘add to text’ function in the ‘attached files’ box. For the reaction scheme it doesn’t look so good but works well for everything else. First upload your file. Then place your cursor in the main text box wherever you want the image to appear. Then go to the ‘attached files’ box and click ‘add to text’. You can click ‘preview’ at any point to see how the post looks.
  • For every edit you need to put in a short description of the reason for the edit. I just write ‘methods’ ‘reaction scheme’ or whatever to indicate which part(s) of the post I was adding.