LabArchives: Electronic Research Notebook Supporting Remote Research and Teaching

Image description: The text "LabArchives" followed by "Chance Favors the Organized Lab" next to a purple beaker design.

Who else here gets inordinately excited over notebooks? Any time I walk into a bookstore or stationary store, I immediately head to the notebooks. While I’m not sure I’ve ever actually filled up an entire notebook, a quick walk around my house will reveal dozens of notebooks with drawings, poems, meeting notes, photographs glued to the pages, recipe clippings, and a variety of other things. Paper notebooks are wonderful! But, the focus of today’s Tartan Datascapes post is on a situation where paper notebooks may not be the best thing for you: in your research environments.

Last year, I wrote a Tartan Datascapes post (view here) on why LabArchives is a great replacement for paper notebooks used in your lab spaces, because there’s no risk of you spilling coffee on them or losing them, and it makes collaboration much easier, especially in research projects involving folks from different institutions! However, when that post was published, I had no idea what was facing us in 2020, and with so many of us trying to continue our research and teaching either from home or in very limited in-person environments, having an electronic research notebook has become even more important.

For the fall 2020 semester, I am supporting the efforts of Dr. Melanie Gainey, Librarian for Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, & Neuroscience Institute and Co-Director of the Open Science & Data Collaborations Program, in marketing LabArchives as a tool for research and teaching continuity in the age of COVID-19. As a data management enthusiast, I was sold within the first five minutes of learning how useful LabArchives would be for managing data both in individual and group research efforts. As primarily a humanities researcher, I immediately saw how LabArchives would be useful for managing the many data sources (photographs, audio, interview transcripts, images, etc.) that I use in my own research, and how my colleagues in STEM fields would benefit from using the platform in their lab environments. Right now, as many of us have taken our teaching and research from CMU’s campus to our home offices (and our kitchens, our couches, etc.), anything that helps support our remote work efforts is very welcomed.

We also know that some researchers on the CMU campus are returning to their lab spaces later this summer and during fall 2020, and LabArchives provides an option for researchers to continue using lab notebooks in their labs without the health risks of taking the paper notebooks to and from campus. And, for students, reducing the amount of physical materials they need to carry around for coursework (check out the webinar information for the LabArchives Educational Edition below!) also reduces the germ risk of toting paper notebooks from home to campus, and vice versa.

Want to check out some upcoming webinars for learning more about using LabArchives in teaching, learning, and research environments? See the information below for dates, time, and registration information!

enlightened LabArchives Education Edition for Instructors (2 Session Options)

Join this 60-minute session to learn how to create your course notebook, browse and copy from our content library, and use the course manager to invite students and grade assignments. Say goodbye to collecting your student paper notebooks and hello to LabArchives!

LabArchives is offering free online course content for instructors and includes hundreds of labs, protocols, and course packs with many suitable to virtual and online course instruction. The CMU license to LabArchives also includes an integration with Canvas, making it even easier to get started using LabArchives in your online courses.

When: Jul 27, 2020 9:30 AM Eastern Time

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://labarchives.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMuc-yhrjstGdxwjQ3V6vwaI3yd3sWQDueD

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

When: Jul 27, 2020 03:00 PM Eastern Time

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://labarchives.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUvdOqprD0pHNx2uE_1NGsqmY0aKGTzH6La

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

enlightened Introduction to LabArchives for Researchers (2 Session Options)

Join this 60-minute session to learn how to quickly and easily create a LabArchives notebook to manage your research data securely online. Other topics covered will include access management, adding and managing content, and collaboration tools.

With so many of our researchers forced to work remotely and ramp-down lab activities, now is a good time to consider using LabArchives to do the following:

  •     Setup notebook structures and organize data  
  •     Add Protocols or datasets that are not currently stored in LabArchives
  •     Discuss or update data management policies
  •     Build Templates or widgets
  •     Review literature and add links or upload articles to LA

When: Aug 3, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://labarchives.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYrf-mprjouGNO7EBNGJLuvwQU7BC2BoCII

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

When: Aug 3, 2020 03:00 PM Eastern Time

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://labarchives.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEof--trD0jGtWO8kX91xABDFOWrf2j5lWa

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Tags: Data, Instruction, Open Science, Technology, See all tags

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