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One notebook to rule them all?

I am hoping to find a system for everyone in my lab to use which would serve as lab notebooks for everyone and allow both written materials to be uploaded and also allow a mixture of different electronic materials such as bioinformatics workflows, pictures, videos, data files, etc.

I have dug around a bit and even tried things on and off  (e.g., OpenWetWare) and not really found anything that seems to do everything I want it to.

What I want in a system

  • Digital
  • Easy to use
  • Archived, versioned
  • Secure
  • Manages / stores / tracks all research data
  • Open source
  • Deals with diverse data types and notes (e.g., data analysis, fields work, lab work, videos, pictures, etc etc etc)
  • Supports collaboration
  • Encourages reproducibility, etc
  • Searchable

And I am sure all sorts of other things

So I am seeking input from the community. Do people have recommendations for electronic lab notebooks that can manage everything done in your lab or research group?


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5 thoughts on “One notebook to rule them all?

  1. Jonathan, I’ve used WordPress for many years, lab people always seemed happy with it. Automatic notification of new lab book entries by RSS was my favourite thing. Now though I am moving to OSF.io for my personal lab book and encouraging all in lab to do so. eg my pitch for them to use it is here https://osf.io/cqb6x/ Can’t exactly say why its clearly better than WordPress, but it works great and is really robust. Its easy to structure an experiment properly with OSF. It links to storage like Github, Google Dropbox, its versioned. You can publish the notebook easily. It feels carefully thought out – a professional implementation of open science not just a hack. Good luck

  2. I’ve been using Evernote as a lab book since 2008. We can share lab books, and student’s lab books are available years after the students have gone. There is a limited free version but I buy the bigger package. Some in another lab use Microsoft OneNote but it was not available for Mac (and Unix) when we decided on Evernote. I’d like to like Jupyter but the last time I looked it was not ready for prime time.

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