Lesson 5 of 8
SciNote also includes inventory management functionalities and we are going to talk about them in this lesson.
You can create personalized inventories for various lab supplies, such as samples, reagents, cell lines, antibodies, and more. These inventories are designed as customizable tables. You can edit the existing columns, add new ones and attach files e.g. safety and handling information documents, etc.
In addition, you can connect the inventory items with your experiments to track what you used and when, and have an overview of inventory items’ history.
You’re halfway through already, well done!
By default, the inventories are shared and managed among the members of one specific team. If you wish you can also share your inventories with other teams in your organization (please see Shared Inventories chapter below).
As a free user, you can manage 1 inventory and as a Premium user you can manage up to 30 inventories (depending on your plan). In both cases, you can have an unlimited number of items and columns per each inventory.
Each inventory table has default columns that are pre-set but you can make them invisible and/or add custom columns to display additional information such as concentration or barcode. The pre-set columns are the following: Assigned, ID (i.e. a unique identification number automatically generated by the software), Name, Added on, and Added by.
They cannot be deleted but you can make them invisible. To toggle the visibility of any inventory column, click the Columns button and select the column from a list by clicking the eye icon. When you see an icon showing a crossed eye, the column is invisible.
Besides managing columns’ visibility, you can reorder them as well. Simply grip the column with your mouse and move it up and down.
To create a new inventory, you have to be a Team administrator. Click the Inventories tab in the side menu, and then the +New inventory button at the top of the navigation panel. Write the inventory name and click the blue Create button.
After you create an inventory, you can add items to it. To manually add items one by one, click the blue +New item button on the main screen, type the item’s name into the empty field and click the blue Save button above the item list.
Besides adding items manually, SciNote enables you to import an existing database of inventory items in the form of a comma-separated, tab-separated, or Excel file.
To import a file of items to the inventory, click the Edit inventory button and select the Import items option from a drop-down list. Choose a file from your computer and click the blue Upload button. Then match the file columns with the table columns in SciNote, where the first row should include header names, followed by rows with inventory items’ data. Finish the action by clicking the blue Import button.
Furthermore, items can be edited, deleted, or copied. To perform these actions, simply check the box of the desired item in the first table column and click the Edit, Delete, or Duplicate button above the inventory table. You can also Edit an item directly by hovering the mouse over the desired item, and clicking on the pencil icon under the Assigned column.
To search for your items throughout the entire inventory, you can use the Filter function on the right. Filtering is also useful if you need to export information on certain inventory items.
If you would like to export inventory items, first check the boxes of desired items, click the Edit inventory button and select the Export items option from the drop-down list.
Then confirm the action by clicking the blue Export button and the list of inventory items will be exported in a .csv file format. You will receive an email with a link where you can download the file.
If you are a SciNote Free user, you can now also order and re-stock your lab supplies from within SciNote through our integration with the digital marketplace for life science reagents, instrumentation, and services, Labviva. To connect your free Labviva account to SciNote, go to Settings and open the Connected Accounts page. We will look into ordering and re-stocking in the next chapter.
Custom inventory columns
As mentioned before, you can add new columns in the inventory table to display additional information of lab supplies such as a barcode, CAS number, LOT number, concentration, hazard class, manufacturer, etc.
To add new inventory columns, click the Columns button and then the +Add column below the list of existing columns. Write the column name and select the Column type from the drop-down list below. You can choose between the following column types: Text, Number, File, Vendor link (Labviva integration, available to free users only), Dropdown, Checklist, Status, Date & Time, Date, or Time.
Now, if you want to create a column bearing text information such as reagent concentration, select the Text column type. If you would like to create a column where only numbers are recorded, select the Number column type. In case you want to add a file such as a safety data sheet (SDS) document, select the File column type.
The next column type allows you to create a custom Dropdown list with multiple options, so you can for example create a storage space column displaying different freezers as options in the drop-down list. Select the Dropdown from the list and add dropdown items of choice (e.g. freezer 1, freezer 2, etc.). When you are finished click the blue Save column button.
Checklist and Status column types are similar to the Dropdown one, the difference being that the Checklist type allows you to select multiple options from the drop-down list, and the Status column type has emojis that you can add to your options.
You can also select to input a date and/or a time to your inventory items. The column types Date & Time, Date, and Time make it easy to select a date from a calendar and input the current time (you can also write them in manually). What is more, you can choose to log a date and time range.
In addition, you can make use of your barcode scanners in combination with SciNote inventory management. You can simply create a new text-type column called e.g. barcode, to which you can input (copy and paste from third-party software) the generated barcodes.
Last but not least, to take advantage of SciNote’s integration with Labviva, first create a custom column. Click on the Columns button, and then +Add column. Then, select the Vendor link option from the list of possible column types, and click the blue Save column button. This will enable you to connect the items to your SciNote inventory. For further information, please take a look at the video ‘SciNote partners with Labviva’ linked below in the Feeling stuck section.
Please note that the type of the custom column cannot be changed once it has been created, therefore, what you can do is rename it, delete it and/or create a new one. Know that if the column was added by you, only you and Team administrators have the right to delete it.
Assigning inventory items to a task
After your inventories are organized, you can associate lab supplies with experiments and have an entire history of inventory items available. In other words, you can keep track of inventory items you are using for the same experiment by assigning them to tasks.
If you click on one particular entry in the inventory table, the Item information window appears, where you are able to see when and by whom the item was added and with which projects, experiments, and tasks it is associated (i.e. assigned).
Moreover, you can easily filter the tasks, to which this item has been assigned to, by clicking on the number under the Assigned column of the item of choice in the inventory table. The following list of tasks is then displayed.
To assign an item from the inventory to a task, first go to an experiment and open a specific task. Then click the Assign from button on the right and select an inventory from a drop-down list.
Continue by checking the boxes in front of the items you wish to assign to the task, or use the filtering option on the right above the table to locate your items, and confirm by clicking the blue Assign button on the left.
To see which inventory items are associated with a specific task, click the View Assigned Items button. Furthermore, all assigned items have a blue circle displayed under the Assigned table column.
A new window appears, where you decide to assign the selected item(s) to this particular task by clicking the blue Assign to task button. In case you wish to assign the item(s) from this task forward to the rest of the tasks in the workflow, click the white Assign to task & downstream button.
Also, you can decide to assign additional item(s), or unassign inventory item(s) from the task(s) by selecting them and clicking the blue Update button.
You can always view the inventory items that are associated with a specific task on the main task protocol view, under the Assigned items section.
If you wish to record the state of the assigned inventory item(s) at a specific point in time, you can now do so by creating a snapshot of the assigned item(s) from the selected inventory and record of their state at the moment of snapshot creation.
To do so, click the expansion icon on the right side of the individual inventory’s subsection on the main task protocol view.
In the window that opens, click View versions button at the top left corner. This reveals a side panel on the right-hand side. Here, you can view a live version of the assigned item(s), which displays the present information of the inventory item(s), or you can create a snapshot by clicking the Create snapshot button.
If you create a snapshot and then edit the assigned item in the inventory, the original information of the assigned item(s) is maintained as it was when you created the snapshot. You can always switch between the Live version view and snapshot view, and choose either of them as a default view by clicking on the blue Set as default view button.
[This functionality is available to the full extent to Premium users and all free users who created the Free SciNote account before the release of the 1.18.5 version on 18th March 2020. Other free users can create and manage one Team only and have one user account, therefore, sharing Inventories is not possible.]
If you have more than one team in your organization, you can share your team’s inventory with other teams.
If you are a Team Administrator, you can enable other selected teams to view your inventory. You can also grant them editing rights.
To share an inventory, navigate to the Inventories tab, select the inventory you would like to share from the list of inventories, and then click the Share button on the inventory’s main screen.
Next, specify which teams you would like to share your inventory with. Check the boxes accordingly, and then use the toggle switch if you want the selected team(s) to also edit the inventory, not just view. Confirm your sharing preferences by clicking the blue Save sharing options button.
You will be able to tell the shared status of an inventory by looking at the inventories’ navigation panel where the team’s inventories are listed. Next to an inventory, an avatar icon will be displayed if the inventory is shared.
If the inventory is shared by your team with others, you will see just the avatar icon. If an inventory was shared with your team by another team, the avatar icon will have either an eye or a pencil at its bottom right corner that signify viewing or editing settings granted, respectively.
[Please note, that we are currently in the process of updating the course, and the first quiz question covering Shared inventories is outdated/incorrect.]
- Log into your SciNote Free account or shared SciNote Premium site that has a unique URL link (i.e. companyname.scinote.net).
- Create an inventory and name it (e.g. Reagents).
- Create three custom columns with different column types (e.g. Concentration, SDS document, and Storage place).
- Manually add an item and duplicate it (e.g. Sodium hypochlorite).
- Assign at least one item from the inventory to a specific task.
- Bonus: Import a file of your existing lab supplies.
Read the following articles:
- How can I create an inventory?
- How can I create custom columns?
- How can I add items to the inventory?
- How do I assign inventory items to the tasks?
- How can I share my inventory with another team?
- How can I use a barcode scanner with SciNote?
Watch the following video tutorials:
- How to Create a New Inventory?
- How to Create New Inventory Columns?
- How to Manage Inventory Columns?
- Connecting Inventory Items to Your Tasks
- SciNote Partners With Labviva