User:Richard M. Badge/Notebook/Richards Open Project!/Entry Base

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  • This OPEN project is somewhat self referential - I am going to use this part to write up my efforts to integrate my [closed] electronic wetlab notebook with my current work flow...

Currently I spend about 2/3 of my time in the office doing administration and "dry" research (mostly bioinformatics to support our wetlab research) and perhaps 1/3 actually in the lab doing "wet" experiments. The lab and the office are about 200 yards apart so I spend quite a bit of time walking... (this is good exercise, I'm not complaining!).

I abandoned a hardcopy written lab notebook in the summer of 2008, instead relying on the wiki function of our institutional VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). This is secure, backed up and accessible over the internet - it works for me, despite not being a proper "elabnotebook".

I am pretty happy planning my experiments in the wiki, printing out a hard copy for reference in the lab (and making notes on the hard copy while experimenting). After the experiment is done I transfer any notes back to the online elabnotebook. While not very green it's a rigorous procedure and makes for accurate, detailed and secure notes. I am trying to encourage students in my group to try this model, but have encountered some resistance...

1) Its rather "old school" - lots of bits of paper (mostly doomed to be recycled) given the use of an elabnotebook! 2) Not very environmentally friendly (laser printing / paper etc) 3) Requires significant levels of discipline - write protocol, print protocol, annotate protocol, write up notes immediately (bug / feature?) 4) If you don't have a nice clean PC in an office the temptation to look at notebook on PC's in lab is high (potential contamination issues)