The Application of Informatics to Scientific Work: Laboratory Informatics for Newbies

Informatics expert Joe Liscouski is back with another short laboratory informatics guide, this time geared towards those who are relatively new to the concept. In this 2021 guide, Liscouski approaches the various concepts surrounding laboratory informatics, but by first addressing the laboratory itself. What types of scientific and laboratory work are conducted? What’s the difference between a research laboratory and a testing or “service” laboratory? How are the workflows different between the two? Liscouski notes that documenting data is critical to both types of laboratories, and historically, the paper-based laboratory notebook has been that tool. From there, he makes the logical leap to electronically documenting the same data, first by word processor and then by the electronic laboratory notebook (ELN). From there, integrating these electronic variations is addressed, as well as how other informatics tools like a laboratory information management system (LIMS) and scientific data management system (SDMS) shape and fit into laboratory workflows. He concludes by discussing the actual planning necessary for implementing these and other laboratory informatics solutions in the lab.

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