ELN LabCollector principles - LabCollector

Search Knowledge Base by Keyword

You are here:
← All Topics

A Lab Notebook is used to:

  • Record and share experimental results
  • Ensure traceability of research results (date, author, identity of samples, equipment usage)
  • Capitalize on lab expertise and facilitate knowledge transfer
  • Help you in a quality approach

An Electronic easily takes care of the same functions as a paper notebook while also having the added benefit of minimizing or eliminating the following common problems:

  • Illegible handwriting
  • Notebooks in various inconsistent forms
  • Loss / disappearance of notebooks
  • Unsigned pages
  • Images that tarnish or degrade over time
  • Results that are left out of an experiment
  • Loss of raw data
  • Pages that stick out after years of use

The ELN also adds the following important and useful features:

  • Your lab knowledge repository is easily searchable
  • Sharing – notebooks can be shared instantly with colleagues 
  • Directly links to sample and instrument records used in experiments
  • Built-in diagram, image and spreadsheet tools

The LabCollector ELN is based on an architecture with 3 levels:

  1. BOOK
  3. PAGE

The page is the level corresponding to the page of your paper lab notebook.

Find the complete manual here.


There are different ways to manage your data. For example, you can attribute a book to:
– a scientific project
– a lab member
– a team…

Your choice depends on how you want to manage and share your data.

Under this first level you can describe your project and manage user access. For more information about this point, please see the KB-Manage user’s access (ELN).

For audit purposes, books cannot be deleted. You can only archive your books ( Archive button).

We advise you to create a TRASH book (one per week, per month or more, that you archive), in which to move all experiments and pages that you don’t want to use anymore because experiments pages cannot be deleted.

NOTE: Deletion is carefully handled in LabCollector. So we advise using a TRASH book if you want to move your page for any particular reason. Rules apply, when moving pages to other experiment folders.  Only un-signed pages can be moved.  Once a page is signed it it is locked into the experiment.  Moving the experiment folder is possible. You can track this in the audit trail and your data will be still on the system.

To create a book, use the button NEW BOOK/PROJECT on the main menu (on the right upper bar).
When you need to, you can print or export your book as a PDF (on the right upper bar).


This second level is your experiment folder where you can easily organize your experiments. It provides more ways to add data (pictures or links to LabCollector data). It is not yet strictly speaking, identical to working with a single paper lab notebook page but we’re getting there – wait for the next level!

This experiment level can be used in two ways: with or without the workflow option. To have more information on workflow, please consult this KB-XX.
Here, we explain how to use this level.

You can’t delete an experiment, only move it into a trash book for example by drag&drop in the tree or using Move experiment to on the bottom of the experiment.

By default, the experiment page has three more sections to manage your data with, in addition to the description section:

  • Task list
  • Box/Microplate
  • LabCollector Data

The description section is designed to be an abstract for the experiment.  The content section of pages is designed for the full details of the experiment.

The task list, only retrieved at this level, will allow you to follow up experiment advancement.
You can list everything you need to do for a particular type of experiment, or everything that you need for a project. You can tick the check task when it’s done , edit each task to update the advancement , or cancel it .

To add a task, click on Add task list item and fill out the form and click on Add (green button).

To have an overview of all your tasks, use the link under  and open the Gantt chart. You can also directly change the duration and the date on the Gantt chart. Don’t forget to save the chart.

You can also attribute a sample box/microplate to your experiment. This section is also accessible in the page level. After editing the box section, fill out the form:

1. Select a storage location in the list (link to your storage browser under LabCollector)
2. Select the box
3. Add it to this experiment
4. Save the section

You then have a box scheme and a list view of your stored data.

The last section in Experiment level is the LabCollector data. This section, also accessible from the page level, allows you to search and link directly to your LabCollector data.
After using the Link data button (1), choose the module of interest (2) and a keyword to restrain the search and click on Search (3). Check all the data that you want to link (4) and use the Link button on the top or bottom of the list (5).

You can link data of interest to your ELN experiment to have quick access to these data in reading mode  or to open them quickly in another tab using the icon . You can delete the association by using the icon .

To create an experiment, use the button ADD NEW EXPERIMENT on the book menu.
When you need to, you can print or export your experiment in PDF.


The third and last level, the heart of your paper lab notebook, is the most complete level of your LabCollector ELN!

A page is accessible through the Experiment level, ADD NEW PAGE, simply with or without template (for more information on templates see the KB-ELN Templates), or as a Workflow element.

If the page has been edited (version 2 or higher), you can’t delete it,  and can only move it into a trash book for example by drag&drop in the tree if the page not closed.


All page content modifications are allowed until the page is closed/signed. This option is very useful to be compliant with a QA management system. Refer to this KB-XX for more details.

By default (without template), the ELN page has several sections in addition to page content (see the KB-XX):
1. Flat spreadsheet and SpreadSheet Data (see the KB-XX)
2. Box/Microplate (see above)
3. LabCollector Data (see above)
4. Diagram Designer (see below)
5. Associated Files – for files not already in LabCollector (see below)

The LabCollector ELN integrates a Diagram Designer. Click on this icon  and Create (on the right) to start a diagram. Multiple elements can be added like text, arrows, and numerous laboratory items, by using Add item menu and choosing from the selection of elements.

Panel dimensions can be modified using the Panel Editor. You can define panel width and height quickly using your mouse. You can also add a panel grid in the background facilitating element alignment. Click on the See Grid icon to display the grid.

Each element added appears in a grey box allowing users to manage box dimension easily. Note the box border and color aren’t displayed when you print a preview (paper version or PDF file report).

To print a paper version or see a diagram review, use the tab Other.

Under print or PDF view, your diagram will be really nice and helpful to schematize protocols or experiments!

In the section Associated Files, any files can be easily attached to the page by drag and drop. Its status version can also be defined to follow the work progress: definitive, intermediate or discarded version with corresponding icons.

After adding a file, don’t forget to SAVE the action on the right. All those files will be in the ZIP export folder.
You can remove files by checking the case REMOVE then SAVE.