I recently got the following email:
It seems that you have so many ideas, why you didn’t build your own
I’m a PhD student, what would you recommend me to use as ELN?
I had to laugh a little, because – have you read my ideas? Some of them are crazy dreams! I can’t wait for mind-computer interface devices and iphone/palm pre computer phones connected. So your ELN is simply you making ‘mental notes’
Anyway, since you’re a PhD student I would have to recommend Office Onenote. I love it as my ELN. The new Onenote 2010 (Beta), offers a second level of subpages now. The organization is good, and if you have multiple members of the lab working on the same project (and you can get them to login and logoff), then Onenote record when and who has written anything in the lab notebook.
If you were starting your own lab, a PI, or a lab manager. And you want a more powerful solution with less hassle to you, then I would recommend some of the other ELN software solutions. But as an individual or small group Onenote really is fantastic.
I can link to any file for analysis – excel, word, Prism (stats file). I can insert pictures, links to websites, searchs. I can search through my lab notebook instantly (as opposed to flipping through).
I recently switched over to Onenote 2010 Beta with my little group. And to be honest there isn’t alot of changes (which in some ways is good, if it was too different then people may not know how to use it). I’ll go into more detail later, but the best things so far to me are – the add layer of subpages (although I don’t understand why there has to be a limit- why can’t there be sub-sub-sub-sub-subpages?) and the user/change tracking is better. I can see any changes made by others since I last opened it.
Here’s a pdf (you can save you onenote pages as pdf for archive if you’d like) example of recent activity. PDFLINK