I occasionally get asked about electronic notebooks, many seem to be somewhat inflexible and don’t support the range of modern mobile devices that are now used routinely. I keep an eye out for web-based solutions since these look to be a better option in a varied platform environment.
I just noticed the Electronic Lab Notebook from Sciformation. It seems to be web-based using pre-installed templates, which are XML documents, these are quite simple to design more custom-made templates.
Dotmatics also have a web-based Electronic Lab Notebook that covers all scientific disciplines in a single interface including chemistry and biology experimental data.
There is an interesting blog entry by Rich Apodaca on Depth-First talking about using Evernote as an Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN). I’ve been involved in several discussions about using an iPad as an ELN and one thing that always comes up is data entry.
The major issue from both those who use an ELN and those who have decided against using an ELN is they want to be able to freehand draw structures and notes directly into the notebook.
To partially overcome this you can use Notability on an iPad and this Dropbox workflow to incorporate hand drawn notes into a Evernote notebook. However to date whilst using your fingers or stylus makes a passable job of text input I’m less than impressed with the ability to draw chemical structures quickly and accurately. If anyone has suggestions for a stylus that allows the user to draw chemical structures accurately I and many others would be interested. The main issue is trying to select points on the end of bonds, ideally you need a sharp pointed stylus.
Open Eventory has been updated
2012-09-28: - updated Ketcher molecular structure editor, now also supports reaction equations - added DrugBank for structure-to-CAS and substance data search - fixed a bug that prevented merging of literature datasets - advert in navigation panel no longer covers functionality on smaller screens - added SDF export (experimental) - import of existing substance data is now possible (if you have data not within the online catalogs)
Open enventory is an integrated laboratory journal with a literature database and inventory program.