Scientists and engineers have been recording the results of their scientific findings and studies via lab notebooks for hundreds of years to lay out protocols and track their progress. Most of this recording of protocols and progress has been done via paper lab notebooks. With the popularity of the internet, many have been turning to electronic means to record their study data, though this does not imply that paper lab notebooks have been completely abandoned. In the beginning, many were making use of tools not necessarily created for the sole use in laboratories, such as Microsoft Word, Evernote, Google Docs, or other means of recording notes online and/or via a computer. However, there proved to be a market for products used especially by those doing research on scientific fields and thus the electronic lab notebook was born.
New York University Abu Dhabi has a growing faculty specializing in STEM fields. As with any other university, the STEM faculty rely on many other staff to help conduct their research including Postdoctoral Scholars, Research Scientists, Research Assistants, etc. The Science and Engineering Librarian received one request from a scientist about the library purchasing Electronic Lab Notebooks, and she and a colleague sent out a survey to STEM faculty and staff to ascertain if others were also interested. The feeling was mutual and thus the New York University Abu Dhabi library set out to purchase and market the Electronic Lab Notebook software. However the question remains as to whether the process was worth it? Have the science and engineering community embraced the electronic lab notebook software? Or has the community held strong to their methods of recording their findings before the availability of the software? This paper will review the results of surveys conducted both before and after implementation of Electronic Lab Notebook software.
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