By Alexandra Ehl, scientific associate and David Frommholz, lab manager at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, and
startup co-owners at DALEX Biotech,Germany.
“With SciNote the documentation is faster and therefore not as »dreadful«. Furthermore the time saved by documentation gives you more time in the lab.”
How would you describe sciNote; what does it represent to you?
Quite often, the huge amount of scribbled notes and the tedious handwriting in paper notebooks holds you back. But not us anymore!
To us electronic lab notebooks represents something that is missing in many labs and should have been there for quite some time. With every new instrument a lab becomes more modern and most of these create a digital output. A paper notebook just feels very outdated in these surroundings.
What made you decide to start using an Electronic Lab Notebook in the first place? What made you choose SciNote in particular?
One colleague started it because in our field of work (biology) the techniques get more and more sophisticated and the amount of data you produce equally grows. Of course this is usually in a digital form. So the amount of work you have to do to transfer your data into a paper notebook is huge.
Some colleagues were a bit hesitant at first but when we all now think about the fact that before we used SciNote we had to print out results and cut them to a good size and then glue them in the paper notebook… This seems ridiculous to us.
How did you structure your work in SciNote and create a sustainable system for your research?
The first few weeks were a trial and error period. In a paper notebook the order was just the date. This is not the case with SciNote were the structure is to divide the work in projects – experiments – tasks. This is actually more logical and most of us missed a non-chronological documentation when we still used paper notebooks. However, the new structure needed a period of familiarisation.
What was the process of implementing SciNote into your lab and getting everyone on board like?
This was pretty easy because we are a small team. We just made a cut at one day and from then on we only used sciNote. We think with more people involved this task can be more challenging.
Which problems has SciNote helped you solve? In which aspects does SciNote save you time?
Paper based notebooks are very limited in respect to the documentation of complex and large data sets which are usually digital anyway.
SciNote enables to collect experimental procedures, raw and analyzed data in one place. On the long run, sciNote helps to prevent the loss of knowledge that is accompanied by every postdoc, PhD-student, grad/undergrad or assistant who leaves the lab.
There are no lab journals anymore which are not looked at because the handwriting is awful or inconclusive, because nobody knows where the raw data is stored, or just sit in the basement without anybody knowing about it.
On the short term, SciNote allows access of data in a matter of a click-and-scroll. This comes in very handy when preparing presentations, publications, posters, lab reports, and theses.
SciNote saves time in regard to time needed for documentation. With a paper notebook we often delayed the actual writing because it was always such a tedious task.
With SciNote the documentation is faster and therefore not as »dreadful«. Furthermore the time saved by documentation gives you more time in the lab.
The structure of projects gives a good overview about what has been done on a specific problem. This makes planning the next steps easier.
The integration of office online, especially excel, was huge for us. The excel sheet with all your result evaluation/analysis is directly linked to your protocol/steps. This makes it easy to find and look something up and thereby saves time.
What do you like the most about SciNote?
It is hard to pinpoint one specific thing. I think what sums it up for us is convenience. Documentation of your experiments is so much easier now with all data in one place, accessible from everywhere.
Would you recommend SciNote to other scientists?
Definitely, we already have. Paper notebooks are a thing of the past.
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