What is an ELN (Electronic Laboratory Notebook)?
An Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) is an electronic version of a paper lab notebook with many more features than just a paper notebook. It is generally used for the documentation of protocols, experiments and procedures performed in R&D.
An ELN makes searching, analyzing and storing data quick, easy and secure.
It can include a chemistry suite for designing chemical structures and reactions.
An ELN can also manage biology activities such as experiments on complex large molecules, cell lines, antibodies and proteins.
An ELN stores all scientific data in one place replacing many laboratory notebooks kept in numerous locations.
The data stored within the database (MySQL, MS-SQL, Oracle, etc.) are secure and timestamped (protecting Intellectual Property) and searchable.
Storing all data in one place makes for better collaboration, sharing notes, projects and protocols.
Storing data on an ELN enables the data to be organized and legible.
Archived data can be easily found in the future.
Metadata can be added to enrich dynamic data collected within the system.
Implementing a fully validated ELN system will demonstrate compliance with regulations such as ISO 17025 & 21 CFR Part 11 and Good Practices (GXP) such as Good Laboratory Practices.
The ELN has full audit trails of all actions.
Access control to data and functionalities can be fully defined and regulated thanks to groups and roles definition.
Electronic signatures can be set up for any action in the system.
The inventory capabilities within an Electronic Laboratory Notebook can be implemented to track and manage all laboratory reagents, standards and consumables. This can be easily achieved using barcodes.
Expiry dates can be added to prevent the use of out-of-date products.
Storage locations of all inventories can be added to find them quickly and easily.
Defined stock levels for each item can be set to notify the user of low stock or even reorder directly from the supplier.
By integrating laboratory instruments such as pH meters, analytical balances, HPLC, etc., with an ELN the data can be entered directly into the system replacing printouts being attached to notebooks and the possibility of them getting lost.
This also frees the analysts time from manual data entry as well as cutting out transcription errors.
Reporting & Dashboards
An ELN can generate reports collating information within the system related to such things as projects, experiments, formulations, etc.
ELN can display dashboards including diagrams such as tables and graphs and charts. They can also include Key Indicators.
A chemistry module integrated with the ELN allows to sketch and register chemical molecules and reactions.
Chemical structures can be searched, selected and pulled automatically from specialized solutions such as the ChemAxon database.
Using a chemistry suite within the ELN allows for better reporting and presenting of research.
A biology module integrated with an ELN allows to sketch complex biological molecules in HELM format and to register them.
It is also possible to Import sequences from public databases, to display peptides or nucleotides sequences.
Any entity can be registered and searched by sub-sequence, compound ID, etc.