Electronic Lab Notebook

An electronic laboratory notebook (commonly known as an ELN or a digital lab notebook) is a software system designed for scientists to help you document and maintain reproducibility of your research and share information more easily.

Electronic lab notebooks provide the following functionalities:

  • A text editor for writing notes in a way that replicates a paper notebook
  • Spreadsheet tools for calculations and formatting of tables and graphs
  • Protocol templates for documenting standard procedures
  • Laboratory inventories for documenting samples, reagents and apparatus
  • Collaboration tools for sharing experimental information

TU Delft has a subscription to two electronic lab notebook tools: eLABJournal and RSpace

Both options are excellent and enable you to do the following:

  • Capture and organize data as well as link your data and protocols 
  • Collaborate easily by sharing your documents and data directly in the notebook 
  • Use as a management tool for principal investigators to observe and manage lab workflows
  • Export data in several formats 

Both RSpace and eLabJournal have an integrated laboratory Inventory module for sample tracking and protocol management. Please note that TU Delft also offers a separate tool with similar functionality, Lab Servant, that complies with health, safety and environment legislation and integrates with relevant TU Delft systems and processes. You may be required to use Lab Servant instead of the Inventory module in the ELNs. Please find more information here.

Both lab notebooks offer integration with other tools and applications, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, whereby RSpace also enables linking to OneDrive, Box, Egnyte, ownCloud, as well as Mendeley, Github, Slack, MS Teams and protocols.io. Please check the corresponding pages on eLABJournal and RSpace websites for the full list of integration options. 

Please be aware of possible security risks to your data if you integrate with third-party tools.

eLAbJournal or RSpace? 

Both eLABJournal and RSpace have excellent functionalities so there is no wrong choice! 

eLABJournal has extra functionalities which allow you to manage your lab (schedule machine time, manage samples), whereas RSpace has more integrations with other applications. 

eLABJournal is currently being used by research groups in departments such as Bionanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Geoscience & Engineering, Materials Science Engineering and Biomechanical Engineering, while RSpace is currently used by research groups in departments such as Bionanoscience, Imaging Physics, and Process & Energy.

To get an idea about each product, check out their introduction videos: eLABJournal and RSpace

For more information and tutorials, please check their youtube channels: eLABJournal and RSpace

To access eLABJournal:

  1. Go to https://www.elabjournal.com/login/
  2. Select 'log in with your institute account'  (below the login form)
  3. Login with your netID

Please note that new ELN groups must be reported to support@elabnext.com (eLABJournal Support) to get full access to eLABJournal.

To access RSpace:

  1. Go to https://rspace.tudelft.nl
  2. On the first time you log in to this tool, following authentication, you will be directed to the RSpace signup page, pre-populated with some information released from your netID, where you need to confirm that you want an account. 
  3. On subsequent logins, you will go straight to RSpace after authentication using your netID.

Data security

  • Access to both eLABJournal and RSpace is authenticated via your TU Delft netID.
  • RSpace is maintained on a university server which is backed up daily with a two week retention period. Weekly snapshots are kept for a period of 1 year.
  • eLABJournal is offered as a cloud service. You can read about their security measures here: https://www.elabjournal.com/security/
  • Neither eLABJournal nor RSpace is suitable for sensitive personal data relating to human individuals such as patient data or other special categories of data or highly confidential information such as nuclear reactor information, state secrets, etc.

ELN User Group

TU Delft has started an informal group on the use of electronic lab notebooks to share lessons learned, etc. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at library@tudelft.nl  and you will be added to the mailing list.

Any other questions? 

Please contact us at: library@tudelft.nl

Read more? 

Keep calm and go paperless: Electronic lab notebooks can improve your research.