Electronic lab notebooks (ELN)

Electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) provide you with a digital solution for recording procedures, observations, conclusions and attaching images and data files when conducting laboratory work.
The University's ELN platform is LabArchives.

Features

  • Searching - ELNs are designed to be searched by keyword or tag.
  • Sharing and collaboration – Connect to more researchers and provide access to your research data by choosing to share all or part of your ELN within your research team, external collaborators, even with the public.
  • Research data management – ELNs promote good practice by keeping protocols, observations and digital data all in one place.
  • Portability – Access your electronic notebook anywhere, anytime, from almost any device.
  • Record keeping - ELNs are a source of evidence of responsible research conduct, inventorship and authorship for patents and research publications.
  • Secure - LabArchives ELN is secure, password-protected and has been independently certified by ICT data security consultants. Access to the ELN is via UniKey, and can be restricted to the notebook owner or authorised members of the research team.
  • Free – LabArchives ELN is free for staff, students and affiliates.

Getting started

Setting up your ELN

  1. Check out the Quick Start Guide for an overview of LabArchives.
  2. Visit http://sydney.edu.au/eln/login
  3. Do not enter your credentials here. Select The University of Sydney from the drop-down menu labelled Select your participating institution.
  4. You will be redirected to a University of Sydney UniKey login.
  5. Enter your UniKey and UniKey password to login.
  6. Select the option I do not have a LabArchives account and need to create one.
  7. Once selected, a new page will appear asking for the email address you want connected to your LabArchives account. Enter your email address in the box and select Create new account.
  8. Bookmark this link: http://sydney.edu.au/eln/login.

Setting up your ELN on a tablet or mobile device

See the LabArchives Mobile Guide to set up LabArchives on your mobile device.

Why use an ELN?

Task 

Paper lab notebook

Electronic lab notebook

Search

Manual search required.

ELNs are designed to be searched by keyword.

Manage and store research data

Data and research records may be spread across disparate systems. Paper lab notebooks are susceptible to damage, loss or removal by exiting personnel.

ELNs keep all your data and records together in one place, and help you better manage your research data. All data is managed in a data centre within NSW and is backed up to a secondary site within Australia. 

Collaborate

Manual photocopying, or scanning and emailing of notebook pages is required to share paper notebooks.  

Researchers can share data sets, pages or even entire notebooks with fellow colleagues – even with external collaborators.

Transport data between sites

Transporting your notebook is risky if you take the only copy of your experiment data and records offsite!

Access your ELN from any device with an internet connection. See the LabArchives Mobile Guide to set up your mobile or tablet.

Lodge patents or records of invention.

To enable patents or records of invention, physical notebooks must be signed off by the lab supervisor to verify the date and time of data entry. 

All data and attachment are time and date stamped, and all changes to the notebook are recorded in an audit trail. Notebooks can be signed to indicate final approval by an authorised party. 

Use PC2 facilities

Paper notebooks cannot be taken in or out of a PC2 Lab as they cannot be decontaminated. Data must be scanned and or electronically exported. 

ELNs can be used on the resident computers in your PC2 lab, and will be instantly available from your office or home. No scanning or duplication of information required. 

Refer to SOPs, MSDS, safety and risk assessments

SOPs and other important safety documents for experiments are often pasted into paper notebooks, making it harder to retrieve them in future.

Each experiment can be linked with an up-to-date SOP; or the current SOP file can be added to each experiment as an attachment. Ancillary safety documents can be included in or linked to ELNs and are immediately accessible.

Ensure data security/privacy

Paper notebooks containing industry nondisclosure or private patient information must be locked up.

ELNs are accessed via Unikey only, and access to notebooks can be restricted to authorised members of your research team.

Supervise students and researchers

Principal scientists/supervisors/lecturers must inspect physical paper lab notebooks in the lab or classroom. 

Principal scientists/supervisors/lecturers can access all data and can add comments to lab members’ and students' ELNs from any device 24/7. 

Advanced setup: tools and utilities

What is the LabArchives Inbox?

The LabArchives Inbox contains files that have been exported from other applications (such as GraphPad Prism) or e-mailed directly to your ELN.

To send items to your Inbox, send attachments or email text to inbox@au.labarchives.com from the email account associated with your ELN (normally your University of Sydney email account). If there are multiple attachments, each attachment will become a new entry in your Inbox.

To move each entry from your Inbox to the appropriate location in your ELN:

  1. Login to LabArchives as per normal http://sydney.edu.au/eln/login
  2. Select the appropriate Notebook from the drop-down menu at the top left of the screen.
  3. Click the Move button within the Inbox entry, then select the folder and page to move that entry to the appropriate location within your notebook.

How do I set up GraphPad Prism to work with LabArchives?

GraphPad Prism combines scientific graphing, comprehensive curve fitting (nonlinear regression), understandable statistics, and data organization. The University has a site license for use by full time students, staff and faculty members with primary appointments at The University of Sydney.

Download and install GraphPad Prism.

GraphPad Prism for PC: Once GraphPad Prism is installed, save this configuration file into the folder where you've saved Prism. Depending on the version of Prism you are running, this will be different but may look like C:\Program Files\GraphPad\Prism 6. Restart the application.

GraphPad Prism for Mac: Create a directory called /Library/Application Support/GraphPad/Prism/Config and save this configuration file to the directory.

How do I create or edit documents in Microsoft Office to upload to LabArchives?

You can create or edit documents in Microsoft Office using the Microsoft Office plugin. To download the plugin:

  1. Download one of the plugin versions depending on your version of Microsoft Office.
    Microsoft Office plugin 2007
    Microsoft Office plugin 2010
  2. Close any Microsoft Office applications you might have open.
  3. Open the file and select Run when prompted.
  4. Follow the prompts to install the plugin.
  5. The plugin needs to be configured to log into the Australian LabArchives instance.

However... there is currently a bug that means it will return an error about having an incorrect username or password. We are currently working on a resolution. In the interim, please use the following workaround:

  1. From Word, select File then Login to LabArchives.
  2. Select LA Server and set it to https://auapi.labarchives.com.
  3. Select User Info.
  4. Next set login to latest@labarchives.com and, password to LATest.
  5. Click OK.
  6. From Word, select File then Open from LabArchives.
  7. A dialog box should appear and the notebook should be US-LATest. Cancel the dialog box.
  8. From Word, select File then Log out from LabArchives.

As we are using UniKey to log in to LabArchives, you will need to generate a password token in order to complete the login process. To do this:

  1. Login to LabArchives as per normal http://sydney.edu.au/eln/login
  2. From the User Management tab, select LA App authentication to create your password token.
  3. Copy this email address and password to use in step 4.
  4. From Word, select File then Login to LabArchives using the login information from step 3.
  5. Select the Remember Me checkbox
  6. Click OK

I'm unable to open, create or edit any Microsoft Office documents within LabArchives

LabArchives provides the ability to create and edit Microsoft Office documents in a web browser, using a java based product called ThinkFree Office 4.

  1. If Java is not installed on your computer, install Java when prompted and enable the plug-in.
  2. From the Start menu, select Control Panel and then Java.
  3. Select Network Settings and enter the following:
    Select: Use Proxy Server
    Address: www-cache.usyd.edu.au
    Port: 8080
  4. Next select Advanced and enter:
    HTTP: www-cache.usyd.edu.au
    Port: 8080

Notes and tips:

  • For users on the wireless network, and with java configured to not use a proxy, the application works happily.
  • For users on Sydnet5, and with java configured to use a proxy for HTTP _only_, the application works happily (as per the steps above).
  • For users on wireless or Sydnet5 using the standard proxy settings, this will cause an error (undertake the steps above to resolve).
  • For users on Sydnet4, with a private IP they will receive an error (no workaround available).

Can I sync my files between my computer and LabArchives?

Folder Monitor is a desktop application for Windows (Mac version coming soon) that automatically transfers files from your PC into LabArchives. To install FolderMonitor:

  1. Download the Folder Monitor setup file.
  2. Open the file and select Run.
  3. Follow the prompts to install the application.

Next you will need to generate a password token to complete the login process. To do this:

  1. Log in to LabArchives at: http://sydney.edu.au/eln/login
  2. From the User Management tab (normally your user name), select LA App authentication to create your password token.
  3. Copy this email address and password to use in step 5.
  4. Open Folder Monitor
  5. When prompted, enter the following login details:
    Service URL: http://au-mynotebook.labarchives.com/
    Login/email: as per step 3
    Password: as per step 3
  6. If you were not prompted, from the task bar go to the notifications area on the right of your screen and right-click on the Folder Monitor icon (it looks like a beaker) and select Show Folder Monitor Controller.
  7. In the Settings tab, select the checkbox start automatically.
  8. In the Monitoring tab, select the folders you would like to sync.
  9. All files will be sent directly to your LabArchives inbox.
  10. Use the inbox rules from the inbox within LabArchives to automatically move these files to other folders within your notebooks.

How does Folder Monitor work with LabArchives?

Folder Monitor can be set to monitor any folder, but doesn't automatically monitor sub-folders of a folder that is being monitored. To monitor a sub-folder, you will need to set-up monitoring for these folders directly.

Folder Monitor doesn't currently automatically create any folders (or subfolders in LabArchives). Folder Monitor transfers any new files to the Inbox of the user that set up monitoring; the users can create Inbox Rules to automatically move specific data files to specific locations in any notebook they have access to.

These rules run automatically or can be run as desired, anytime from within the LabArchives Inbox.