OpenWetWare:Feature list/Lab notebook/2007 Oct Brainstorming/Jason

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I currently keep my lab notebook in a word doc, so was trying to figure out why i'm not using the wiki. The main reasons are:

  1. Hard to search across the entire notebook unless I keep it on one giant page (which becomes cumbersome to edit).
  2. more coming...

Features I'd like to see

  1. Search within notebook.

Random stuff

  1. No hoops to jump through to contribute content.
    • basically, I'd like to see an electronic, shared instance of a paper lab notebook. So I think getting metadata / tagging is great, but at the moment 99% of the lab notebooks out there don't have metadata and they aren't shared electronically. maybe we should just focus on the issue of sharing the content electronically, and build out the fancier stuff later.
    • So the focus would be mainly on usability for contribution, rather than usability for searching/finding other people's content -- at least at the beginning.
      • Cameron Neylon 12:14, 4 October 2007 (EDT)' I agree, get the stuff in there but I would recommend having some tagging in there at the beginning. We've found it's easy to end up with too much stuff. And then you can't find anything. SO just at the point where it is useful to have it electronic it starts to break down. This is a problem for us because molecular biology is repetitive and we are doing a cylic experiment.
  2. Some quick thoughts on julius' recommendation to have a non-web-based notebook client
    • I'm a little worried about this since I think one of the areas we can actually compete technologically with something like a word doc is in the area of "collaborative" lab notebooks. e.g. an iGEM team, a grad student/undergrad combo, or a professor who works closely with their grad students.
      • If you move to an offline system that can be posted online periodically I'm worried that the collaborative aspect becomes harder to pull off.
    • I think we can build a tool that does other things a word doc can't (like organize across multiple projects, etc), but the collaborative thing is what the wiki handles really well.
      • Cameron Neylon 11:13, 5 October 2007 (EDT)' sorry about putting stuff here but it seems an easier place to reply. I would also argue against an offline system. I think the concernt about widgets on the Wiki is misplaced. They shouldn't really be there. Link out to Google Docs for graphs or to some other web service for analysis rather than having it within the wiki. If you can drop the spreadsheet in then people can click on and get at it. Having said that you do need a way of being able to record stuff when offline and working towards an API that lets the lab book interact with outside services is a good way forward.
      • Austin Che 12:33, 5 October 2007 (EDT): I disagree. I personally would prefer something I can run on my own computer. Whenever you hit save, it saves to the wiki. There is no impact on collaboration as it's the same as editing and saving in the browser.
      • Cameron Neylon 13:16, 6 October 2007 (EDT)' This might come from a difference in use. I often access our system from multiple different computers, several of which aren't mine. Its important for us to be able to do this from somewhere common i.e. not a special piece of software. For e.g. if I visit a lab where I do an experiment I want to be able to note things down as I go and also upload the data there and then. But then that falls down obviously if the instrument isn't on a connected computer.