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Advantages and Challenges To an Electronic Laboratory Notebook Christopher J. Bannochie Chair, SRNL ELN Task Team 18 April 2012 STIP Annual Working Meeting,

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Presentation on theme: "Advantages and Challenges To an Electronic Laboratory Notebook Christopher J. Bannochie Chair, SRNL ELN Task Team 18 April 2012 STIP Annual Working Meeting,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Advantages and Challenges To an Electronic Laboratory Notebook Christopher J. Bannochie Chair, SRNL ELN Task Team 18 April 2012 STIP Annual Working Meeting, Augusta, GA

2 2 SRNL ELN Task Team Team Objectives Review commercial ELN products Develop a business case for an ELN Pilot Project Select a vendor for an ELN Pilot Project Team Composition Technical staff members Chemical and Material Science Researchers (3) Chemical Analysis Logistics (2) Computational Sciences (1) Process Control & Automation Technology members (2) Records Management members (2) Quality Assurance (1)

3 3 Time consuming (1) On large, multiple researcher projects, record sorting and compiling can easily consume the efforts of an entire FTE. Printing, pasting, stamping, signing, and cross-referencing individual laboratory notebook pages consumes vast amounts of technical time. Laborious nature of scrapbooking greatly increases the chance of lost or forgotten scientific details and the unavailability of current work to be referred to by team colleagues. Time is expensive Whats wrong with paper?

4 4 Interface and collaboration limitations (2) Must physically transfer technician instructions from researcher to technician and back to researcher. Entries, templates, or experimental setups cannot be easily shared amongst researchers. Only one researcher can be in physical possession of a project notebook at any given time. Paper notebooks are not necessarily up-to-date with the task activities reducing their usefulness to other team members. Analytical instrument output cannot be delivered directly to the notebook. Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) output cannot be delivered directly to the notebook. Must physically transport the notebook to a witness for potentially patentable work.

5 5 Whats wrong with paper? Data and accessibility shortcomings (3) Important data can be left out of the notebook or become so distantly referenced that it is not easily found. Difficult to tie experimental notes with later generated analyses and results. Legibility of entries can result in lost information. Paper notebooks used in contamination area laboratories cannot be removed or sent to Records Management.

6 6 Whats wrong with paper? Poor records (4) Notebooks must be physically destroyed to convert them into PDF files thus defeating the purpose of purchasing acid-free paper, permanently bound, laboratory notebooks. Scanning complex laboratory notebook pages with inserts, foldouts, and color is time consuming and information may be missed. Resulting record PDF cannot be electronically searched. Once in Records Management, the information and data is difficult for future researchers to utilize.

7 7 Whats wrong with paper? Compliance challenges (5) Some researchers are reluctant to keep a laboratory notebook because of the time requirements, instead relying on final reports to document their work. Multiple contributor notebook pages provide vast opportunities for one individual to miss initialing and dating their entries. Minor errors and typos require a single strike-through, initialing and dating, possibly making it difficult to follow the narrative or data. Laboratory notebooks are not kept up to date. Poor appearance of a notebook detracts from the quality of the research, and focuses attention on the compliance issues rather than the repeatability of the experimental work. Audits require significant preparation time on the part of research personnel.

8 8 Whats wrong with paper? Generational shortcomings (6) Increasingly, new graduate students are keeping their graduate work in an ELN. New hires will look upon our 18 th century record keeping model with skepticism and may use the laboratorys inability to keep up with best practices as a reason to seek alternative employment.

9 9 Gartner Industry Research 1 Classification of ELNs Procedural execution ELNs – best suited for quality-centric and manufacturing-centric environments. Generic ELNs – best suited to multidisciplined experiments where unstructured data is the norm, can require extensive customization. Collaborative ELNs – have advanced commenting and tagging elements similar to those found in social networking applications, effective for technical and nontechnical staff contributions. Specialty ELNs – designed for specific functional disciplines. R&D-oriented ELNs – designed as platforms for collaboration and advanced scientific calculations, data capture, and idea capture for intellectual property; best suited for R&D where data is structured and unstructured. 1 Michael Shanler, ELN and LIMS Bundling Poses Efficiency Gains, but Has Different Levels of Synergy, Gartner Industry Research, 12 Sept 11.

10 10 Gartner Industry Research Market penetration is 5 – 20% of target. ELNs improve laboratory research efficiency for routine operations up to 40%. Best-of-breed, R&D-oriented or collaborative ELNs are best to support innovation. Avoid LIMS bundled ELNs which are not deep or flexible enough to support R&D. Bundled ELNs are deployed in manufacturing/QA/QC environments. Integrate the ELN with LIMS

11 11 SRNL ELN Pilot Project Goals Select an extremely flexible ELN that can handle both structured data and unstructured data like a paper notebook. Reduce the time spent keeping laboratory records. Improve the interactive and collaborative nature of science and engineering. Produce better records: More comprehensive More easily reviewed by management More up-to-date

12 12 ELN Vendors and Products Reviewed Accelrys iLabber (thin client) ELN iLabber (thick client) ELN Symyx ELN PerkinElmer Contour ELN E-Notebook Pro ELN (formerly Cambridge Soft) Rescentris CERF ELN IDBS E-Workbook ELN

13 13 ELN Usage Across the DOE Complex PerkinElmer (Cambridge Soft) E-Notebook Pro Oak Ridge National Laboratory – moving into a Production Pilot program Sandia National Laboratory (Livermore) – individual research group users Los Alamos National Laboratory – beginning a pilot program Savannah River National Laboratory – procurement process Resentris CERF Idaho National Laboratory – Production Pilot program

14 14 Contact Information/Acknowledgements Chris Bannochie SRNL ELN Task Team: Hop Aiken, Dr. Elliot Clark, Lynette Connelly, John Connelly, Varnie Edwards, John Longo, Sr., Dan McCurry, Dr. Sophie Meissner, Debbie Rice, Jim Tussey, II. Sponsor / Chief Research Officer: Dr. John Marra


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