Thursday, October 29, 2009

eCAT: Online Electronic Lab Notebook For Scientific Research

Nigel H Goddard , Rory Macneil and Jonathan Ritchie / Automated Experimentation / 2009 /  1:4  / doi:10.1186 /1759-4499-1-4 /  Published: 29 October 2009

Abstract (provisional)


eCAT is an electronic lab notebook (ELN) developed by Axiope Limited.


It is the first online ELN, the first ELN to be developed in close collaboration with lab scientists, and the first ELN to be targeted at researchers in non-commercial institutions. eCAT was developed in response to feedback from users of a predecessor product. By late 2006 the basic concept had been clarified: a highly scalable web-based collaboration tool that possessed the basic capabilities of commercial ELNs, i.e. a permissions system, controlled sharing, an audit trail, electronic signature and search, and a front end that looked like the electronic counterpart to a paper notebook.


During the development of the beta version feedback was incorporated from many groups including the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research, Uppsala University, Children's Hospital Boston, Alex Swarbrick's lab at the Garvan Institute in Sydney and Martin Spitaler at Imperial College. More than 100 individuals and groups worldwide then participated in the beta testing between September 2008 and June 2009. The generally positive response is reflected in the following quote about how one lab is making use of eCAT: "Everyone uses it as an electronic notebook, so they can compile the diverse collections of data that we generate as biologists, such as images and spreadsheets. We use to it to take minutes of meetings. We also use it to manage our common stocks of antibodies, plasmids and so on. Finally, perhaps the most important feature for us is the ability to link records, reagents and experiments."


By developing eCAT in close collaboration with lab scientists, Axiope has come up with a practical and easy to use product that meets the need of scientists to manage, store and share data online. eCAT is already being perceived as a product that labs can continue to use as their data management and sharing grows in scale and complexity.

The complete article is [now] available as a provisional PDF


The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production [10-29-09]



!!! Thanks To / Garrett Eastman / Librarian / Rowland Institute at Harvard / For The HeadsUp !!!

1 comment:

lab notebooks said...

It's good to see initiatives like these while commercial ELNs remain so expensive. Commercial ELNs are certainly not making a strong case by remaining as costly as they are, while also posing inherent adoption woes. Paper lab notebooks, even high quality ones, can be purchased by the hundreds before approaching the cost of commercial ELN packages. I like the potential collaborative advantages that electronic systems seem to promise. However, I must say that I feel they are best as a supplement to paper. It would be hard for me to imagine a time where I would completely trade in paper lab notebooks for screen input. Does anyone know of an effort to produce a system like eCat, but with more of an emphasis on supporting the work recorded in a paper book? (A system that facilitates collaborative interpretation of results.)