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Unhappy with the electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) offerings for organic and inorganic chemists, a group of German researchers decided to take development of such an ELN into their own hands. This 2017 paper by Tremouilhac et al. details the process of developing and implementing their own open-source solution, Chemotion ELN. After over a half year of use, the researchers state the ELN new serves "as a common infrastructure for chemistry research and [enables] chemistry researchers to build their own databases of digital information as a prerequisite for the detailed, systematic investigation and evaluation of chemical reactions and mechanisms." The group is hoping to add more functionality in time, including document generation and management, additional database query support, and an API for chemistry repositories.
Where are electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) going, and what do they lack? How does data from several user groups paint the picture of the ELN and its functionality and shortcomings? In this 2017 paper published in Journal of Cheminformatics, researchers from the University of Southampton and BioSistemika examine the market and users of ELNs/paper laboratory notebooks, intent of identifying areas ELNs could be improved. They conclude that optimally there should be "an ELN environment that can serve as an interface between paper lab notebooks and the electronic documents that scientists create, one that is interoperable and utilizes semantic web and cloud technologies, particularly given that "current technology is such that it is desirable that ELN solutions work alongside paper for the foreseeable future."
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