Toward a Paperless Lab?

Courtesy of Thermo Lab Systems Data management in the lab can be dizzying: Where is that clone? Which samples still need to be tested? Has anyone in the lab ever tried this experiment? Which batch of reagent did we use in that trial? As a laboratory grows, the inability to access and process data quickly can become a nightmare. Many research labs track samples, reagents, and experiments using paper records or even simple electronic spreadsheets. But as the amount and complexity of data grow,

Laura Bonetta
Feb 23, 2003
Courtesy of Thermo Lab Systems

Data management in the lab can be dizzying: Where is that clone? Which samples still need to be tested? Has anyone in the lab ever tried this experiment? Which batch of reagent did we use in that trial? As a laboratory grows, the inability to access and process data quickly can become a nightmare. Many research labs track samples, reagents, and experiments using paper records or even simple electronic spreadsheets. But as the amount and complexity of data grow, some investigators turn to specialized software products.

Available options include laboratory information management systems (LIMS), electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs), data repositories, and archival software, as well as tools to integrate the different applications. LIMS generally support sample logging, sample tracking, data recording, instrument connectivity, and report generation.1 ELNs capture and electronically preserve information gathered during a research project. Many such products exist, catering to widely...

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