Welcome to the premier blog entry for LabArchives, the new web-based software to enable investigators to organize, track, retrieve, and selectively publish laboratory data. We are currently in beta-test, and plan for a full commercial release in the next 2-3 months.
I would like to begin with apologies to Louis Pasteur, for our slight modification of his famous quote: “Dans les champs de l’observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés” which is generally translated as “In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind”. This is as true today as it was in 1854 when Pasteur stated this at the University of Lille. Just as true…perhaps even more so…is that organization and management of laboratory data, which is even more extensive today , is critical to the success of every investigator. It was with this concept in mind that the development of LabArchives began last year.
In this blog entry, I would like to introduce the LabArchives company, and to tell you a little more about our team’s background, the concept behind our development of LabArchives, and what we view for the future.
The company is headed up by myself, Earl Beutler, and Kirk Schneider, our Chief Technology Officer. Kirk and I have a long history in developing successful and innovative software products for the scientific community, including Research Information Systems (now owned by Thomson-Reuters), which created Reference Manager, the first bibliographic management software product, and Reference Update, which was the first successful “current awareness” service for biomedical investigators. In 2001, we co-founded RefWorks (now owned by ProQuest), which created the first web-based bibliographic software product, now with over 1,000,000 users at over 1,000 academic institutions throughout the world.
While working with scientists over the past 30 years, a period during which the use of computers and the Internet has exploded in the scientific community (not to mention the rest of the world), and the amount of data and information has increased by an order of magnitude, the maintenance and organization of these data has remained strikingly archaic. In fact, I remember speaking to one well-known scientist about how he maintained all of his images. He showed me how he took pictures with a digital camera, printed them, and then glued them into a paper notebook! This struck me as such an anachronism and with it began the seed of LabArchives. More than just an “Electronic Laboratory Notebook” (or ELN as these have come to be known), LabArchives provides a platform for sharing, collaborating, and publishing selected results.
While there a number of commercial applications, most are needless complicated, expensive, and targeted at the commercial marketplace. Furthermore, most are desktop bound, and thus limit the ability to collaborate and publish, an essential component of LabArchives.
So we welcome you to our blog, and invite you to become a beta-tester and, subsequently, a subscriber to LabArchives. Please visit our web page at www.LabArchives.com to set up your account and begin using our software today.