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Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs): Features of ELNs

A guide to picking and using an electronic lab notebook

Benefits of ELNs

Data storage is a crucial step in the data management process that can often be overlooked due to insufficient time.

Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs) as a means for organizing and storing data provide benefits such as:

  • easy searchability
  • remote access to notebook
  • ability to easily share with collaborators
  • easy to decipher
  • allows for capture and incorporation of high-quality images
  • provides a timestamp for future patent protection
  • ability to import / export data files
  • allows for long-term storage and preservation of files
  • easy to copy and paste entries to adapt future experiments instead of rewriting the same material


However, there are some downsides (although we feel the benefits far outweigh the downsides):

  • Costs especially when users reach certain limits such as data storage or number of users
  • Reliant on network connections and stability of the company
  • Time and effort to figure out what best suites your research