National Network of Libraries of Medicine
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Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN)

Electronic lab notebook (ELN) software allows scientists to access, search and share results of their experiments. An ELN is essentially a computer program that is meant to replace traditional paper laboratory notebooks so that scientists and researchers can search their records more easily and have more efficient means to backup and copy their data onto other electronic devices. ELNs encourage collaboration, as it is possible for multiple researchers or scientists to view lab data at the same time. ELNs also have the capacity to work alongside other research instruments so that additional data can be incorporated quickly and efficiently. ELNs should be supported by strong security measures to ensure that the data and the researchers’ process of creating the data are not jeopardized in any way. Additionally, ELNs should be flexible to change if a particular research process is altered or new data is required. This flexibility is best addressed when developing the specific software for an ELN.