Moving from Paper to Electronic Laboratory Notebooks
Making the move from paper notebooks to Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNs) for recording scientific research can be a daunting prospect. There are a variety of challenges to overcome, including managing the costs and infrastructure requirements, safety and security of data, and potential resistance from future users of the system who may be concerned about the complexity of the software and changes to working practices. In this chapter, we look in detail at planning the implementation of an ELN, including factors that can affect the success of a project, creating a business case, putting together a project team, overcoming resistance from staff, and managing the project. We will discuss the importance of understanding the potential benefits of an ELN and how they can improve efficiency within the laboratory, but also how it is imperative that the capabilities of the ELN can be matched to the requirements of the individual organisation. We also discuss factors that might influence the choice of ELN provider and other considerations to take into account before selecting an ELN.