Who Uses eCAT


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Andreas Johansson, Microbiological Laboratory, Campus Helsingborg, Lund University

http://www.axiope.com/electronic-lab-notebook/video/ecat_3.3.0/user/andreas/andreas.flv

“I chose eCAT because it’s really easy to get started with and use.  With eCAT it’s actually fun to take notes!”

About  Andreas’ work

“We are mainly working with lactic acid bacteria and we try and isolate it from the common honeybee.  We do a lot of common lab experiments and we also do a lot of outdoor experiments.  We also work with a lot of groups around the world.

Challenge

The most important challenge was inconsistent or messy notes.   Another big thing is missing protocols.  They are all over the place.  You might have one tacked to the wall, others in a binder, and at the time you need it someone has borrowed the binder or you can’t find it.  Some things are in your head and some things are in the lab notebook.  Before there were experiments in three different lab notebooks and another one belonged to one of my colleagues.

Solution

I use eCAT for everything in the laboratory when I need to make a note of anything.  I use it for my experiments and my protocols.  But I also use it for things I didn’t use it for before I had an electronic lab notebook.  I use it for digital photos, so protein gels, screenshots of my HPC runs, screenshots of the small things I see during my experiment.  Before I would have just made a small note about it, now I have a photo of it.  And I also add time stamps during an experiment so I can easily see at what point I did a certain thing.

Results

The main result is very very large quality improvements.  It also brings structure to your experiments automatically.  Since you are working with project folders you have your own experiments, and you also add protocols, and you add the data and you add whatever electronic stuff you get during the experiments to that folder.  So everything gets sorted by date and time.  It’s much more structure, automatically.

Now when you’ve done an experiment and you want to share it with a colleague, it’s much easier.  It’s structured from the beginning and it looks good.  You can easily print it, or print it electronically and send it to colleagues by email.  And for me it’s actually fun to take notes nowadays!  I take notes on everything just because it looks good in eCAT.  Nowadays the first thing I do is to start a new experiment in eCAT, even before I start the small preparatory things.

Another big thing is that I am able to access my data from outside the laboratory. I’ts completely web-based so you don’t need to install any software on your computer.  This also means that as long as you have access to a browser you can access eCAT.  It doesn’t matter if you are on Linux or Apple or a Windows system.  That’s really important for the future.

The main reason I chose eCAT is because its really easy to get started with and use.  If something is hard to get started with and easy to use a lot of people will just have a look at it and never get around to starting the first experiment.  eCAT is easy to use; it also means I can ask my colleagues to use it as well.

It’s also easily configurable and its easy to customize your experiments.  You can make your experiments and your protocols look whatever way you want them to.”

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