iPad ELN

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The flexible and free electronic laboratory notebook




Are you an experimental researcher who needs to organize work notes so that they are easier to search and share with colleagues? Then iPad is a good solution for you, since it allows to organize notes in a way that is both thorough and flexible. The key new concept in iPad is labelling or tagging: you can tag any part of your notes using common tags such as project, experiment, data, or tip. Tags make the notes easier to understand and manage.

A major reason why paper is still the primary medium for storing experimental research notes is that the right software substitute has not been available. Until now. iPad is a powerful, simple, and free electronic laboratory notebook that has all the elements needed to compliment or replace the paper.


cd iPad, enter "chmod +x iPad.sh jre/bin/java", and run iPad.sh to start iPad.

Top 5 reasons to use iPad

1. I care about my work and do not want to see it go to waste.

Indeed, whether your experiment worked or not, research notes and the intermediate data are an invaluable source of information needed to interpret your results, replicate your experiment, and learn from your experience. Do you really think that all your hard work over the years is well reflected in a few research papers? iPad can help you preserve all your work indefinitely and make it understandable and useful for others.

2. I want to better organize my work-related information.

Getting tired of joggling your notebooks, data files, and references? iPad can serve as the central information repository that helps you to organize and integrate all these diverse sources of information. iPad uses the latest methodologies for managing information that offer both high degree of organization and high degree of flexibility and ease.

3. I want a better way to share information with my colleagues and work together on a project.

In iPad you can easily share whatever information you want with whomever you want. You can also work on documents together with others, even at the same time. Importantly, iPad helps to make your information clearer for your colleagues and vice versa.

4. I think that scientific information in general is not sufficiently well-organized and that this greatly interferes with the progress of science.

Shockingly, the vast majority of information generated in the process of biomedical research is lost, irrevocably buried in the paper laboratory notebooks and private computer files where researchers record their experiments. Moreover, the small fraction of scientific information that is publicly available is already too difficult to analyze because it is dispersed among a myriad of isolated repositories that are often not well organized. As a result, work gets unnecessarily duplicated, the same mistakes are repeated numerous times, and more importantly, it is very difficult to know what direction of research is the most effective. iPad allows to greatly improve this sad situation.

5. I want my professional achievements to be evaluated based on my actual work and not just on my publications.

Even if your project did not produce results publishable in top journals, its detailed and clear recording in iPad will allow it to become the basis for a more accurate evaluation of your real work.

Top 5 reasons not to use iPad

1. I am not good with computers and I am afraid that iPad is too complicated.

 Give iPad a try or look through the iPad tutorial and you will see that iPad does not require advanced knowledge of computers or extensive training.

2. I am afraid that someone can access my data without my permission.

 Information stored in iPad is more secure than if you store it on your computer or a paper notebook.

3. I am afraid iPad may crash and I will lose all my information.

 iPad server preserves your data as well as your computer does. In addition, iPad provides the necessary backup functionality which allows to recover data in the case of the server malfunction. However, the backups must be stored on an independent storage medium (e.g., external hard-drive or another computer). Talk to your iPad administrator or see the iPad administration instructions.pdf for details.

4. I have tried iPad but prefer another ELN.

 We built iPad because we believe there is a need for an ELN that combines flexibility and a high degree of organizational structure in a simple way. If you prefer another system, we would like to know why, so we can improve iPad accordingly! Please enter your comments on iPad forum and see what other people think. We will also reply to them. Keep in mind, however, that iPad is primarily meant for research laboratories in academia or for small research-oriented companies.

5. I am used to working with a paper notebook and I am not attracted by the prospect of using a software system instead.

 First, you don’t need to give up your paper notebook completely – it can still be useful for quick recordings at the bench or it may be required for protecting your intellectual property. Second, science is a serious business with important consequences – get your priorities straight.
Last updated on October 27th, 2008
iPad ELN

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