Posts Tagged 'Collaboration'

Widgets – A Major Advancement for LabArchives

We are especially excited about the release of our new LabArchives Widgets which represents a major leap forward for our platform.  Our implementation of “Widgets” expands LabArchives into a completely extensible system, enabling our customers and third parties to create simple (or even sophisticated) tools for the laboratory workflow that can be incorporated into your laboratory notebook.

So…what are Widgets, exactly?  A Widget is a tool developed using HTML and/or Javascript to extend the capabilities of your LabArchives account.  A simple example would be a “template” or “form” that needs to be completed on a repeated basis.  More advanced Widgets could be sophisticated applications.  One of the beauties of Widgets is the fact that they can be created and integrated within LabArchives by anyone with some basic understanding of these technologies.

A Widget can be almost anything, limited only by the needs and the imagination of the developer.  Our team has created a few sample Widgets which are immediately available to all of our customers, including a Periodic Table, a molarity calculator, and a scientific calculator.  Widgets can be used as “floating” tools (i.e. small frames that are available to users within the notebook and are used for reference or calculations), or as “Entries”, in cases where you wish to save the results in your Notebook.  They can be simple forms (for following standard procedures and “filling in the blanks”), or more complicated calculators, as shown below in the molarity calculator:

Molarity Calculator Widget in LabArchives

In addition to developing a number of additional widgets in the near future (including a calendar, a database creator, and a molecular structure editor), we plan to develop a LabArchives store that will enable users and third parties to create and offer Widgets for the entire LabArchives community.

We welcome your suggestions for additional Widgets, and our Customer Support team will be glad to assist you with the creation of your tool(s);  LabArchives development team can also create custom widgets for a nominal fee.

Please log into your LabArchives account and try out this powerful new feature.  As always, we appreciate your comments and feedback!

LabArchives now includes 100 GB of storage for each user

If you’re reading this blog, you are probably familiar with LabArchives and our leading Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN).  But we view LabArchives as more than just an ELN.  Our mission is to make it the “hub” of your scientific research through strategic partnerships and integration with leading scientific software and information providers.   Our mission is to allow you to “live” within LabArchives while in the lab, placing all the tools and information that you need at your fingertips (no pun intended).

Each day we move closer to achieving this goal.  We have integrated with leading software providers such as GraphPad Software and FlowJo, and continue to add powerful, yet easy-to-use features that expand the role of LabArchives in the lab.  At the same time, we must overcome objections and concerns of the scientific community that might prevent them from adopting our solution as an electronic lab notebook.  One such objection has been the potential long term cost of storage.  Since LabArchives serves as a permanent repository of all of your research, the amount of data is continuously growing.  And while the cost of storage continues to fall, it will never reach zero.

We recognize that the decision to move to LabArchives is not taken lightly:  It is meant to be a long term partnership with a strong commitment by both parties.  Thus, we reached an important decision to expand the amount of storage provided in a LabArchives subscription by more than an order of magnitude.

As you may know, the original launch of LabArchives in 2010 offered 5 GB of storage per user, which could be shared by all members of the lab.  Thus, a 5 person lab could share 25 GB of storage.  For many this was more than adequate, even for the long term.   For example, one of our customers has been actively using LabArchives for nearly 18 months, and still have only 50 MB of data.  Others, however, have been pushing these limits, and we know there are many who have chosen to remain with paper notebooks due to this concern.

So…we are pleased to announce that effective immediately, all users of the Professional Edition of LabArchives receive 100 GB of storage per user!  So a 10 person lab will actually receive 1 TB included in their subscription.  If you look under Subscription –> Account Information, you will see these new limits have been implemented.

As good partners, LabArchives is prepared to sacrifice immediate profits in order to provide a better, more acceptable service to our customers.  We believe this new policy will make LabArchives far more accessible to the vast majority of scientists throughout the world as it continues to emerge as the worlds leading electronic lab notebook.  Please spread the word to your colleagues!

LabArchives, Electronic Lab Notebooks, and Education

As those of you who follow scientific education are painfully aware, the U.S. has slipped dramatically in the production of capable scientists.  According to Mariette DiChristina, Editor-in-Chief of Scientific American, “American students are now ranked 22nd and 31st among their international peers in science and math, respectively.”   In order to help improve the situation, last May, Scientific American, along with its parent company, Nature Publishing Group, launched a program entitled “1000 Scientists in 1000 Days” which is designed to connect volunteer scientists with K-12 students to advise on curricula, answer a classroom’s questions, or visit a school.

LabArchives, maker of one of the leading and most innovative Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN) software, applauds this effort and has also launched a parallel program to help bring improved information technology into laboratory courses taught in both K-12 and undergraduate institutions.  Now called the “LabArchives Student Edition”, our new product includes virtually all the power and features of our Professional Edition at a per student cost that is less than that of a paper notebook.  LabArchives Student Edition has been in Pilot for the fall semester at a number of leading colleges and high schools throughout the US, and we have been enormously gratified by the reception from both the students and instructors.

Not only is LabArchives Student Edition “green”, it improves the experience of the students by being simple to use and accessible from anywhere.  In addition, like our Professional Edition ELN, LabArchives stores every version of every entry that is made into each Notebook.  Not only does this teach the proper application of the scientific method, but it is more fun to use, saves trees, and reduces our carbon footprint.  Perhaps most importantly, the built-in collaborative features of LabArchives enables instructors to more easily review and grade the work performed by the students.  Instead of having to collect 20-100 paper notebooks at various points throughout the term, bring them home, grade and comment, and return to the students, the instructor can, at any time, view the work that is done and make appropriate comments from any computer that is connected to the Internet.  This often enables instructors to provided needed guidance along the way…well before a student has gone astray.

The LabArchives Student Edition Pilot will continue through the 2011-2012 academic year, and we welcome new participants at all levels.  For more information, or to enroll in the program, please contact us at support@labarchives.com

LabArchives is proud to be participating in a nationwide effort to improve the performance of students in science and math, and are devoting significant resources to enhance our leading electronic laboratory software to provide even better functionality for this market.

“Chance favors the organized lab”

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.



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Chance favors the organized lab

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