IDBS Blog | 29th May 2019
Tips and tricks – how to get the most out of E-WorkBook in your lab
E-WorkBook is an electronic lab notebook that forms part of the IDBS cloud-based solution to manage your scientific data.
Designed to replace the traditional paper lab notebook, information is stored electronically and so can be accessed and searched effortlessly. Here are some tips you can implement while using E-WorkBook to get the most out of its functionality.
1. Save bookmarks
Use Browser functionality to save bookmarks to your own notebook – by saving bookmarks in E-WorkBook, you can access different pages with speed and ease, without using the Navigator.
2. Add Favorites
Save Notebook or any Folders as ‘Favorites’ for easy accessibility; this is particularly helpful if you are moving experiment. Jumping from experiment to experiment, you can use the breadcrumb trail as well – no need to use the main Navigator. Instead, the breadcrumb trail allows you to go back up the hierarchy from the current point. You can add experiments as well as projects to make them easy to open. If you no longer require an item, you can simply deselect it as a Favorite.
3. Reduce clutter
Reduce the page clutter by setting up your Navigator visibility to hide everything you don’t need to see on a daily basis. Keeping only active projects in sight can help you focus and find your work quickly. You can do this by either clicking the Navigator header, or the Navigator visibility icon.
Also, you can set your Notebook to Minimal Mode to show only the essentials. Switching records to this mode will hide the item header options; simply hover over the icon to view them. Configuring your activity feed from your account settings is another great way to declutter the page.
4. Navigate quickly with Card Layout
Use the Card Layout to navigate through E-WorkBook and view your Notebook – you can sort experiment by last edited or created date. This layout allows access to your Favorites quickly, while also viewing other recent work.
5. Keep up-to-date with Activity Feed
Use your Activity Feed as a shortcut to access the most recent experiments you’ve clicked on. Also, you can follow other experiments to see updates in your Activity Feed. User activity can be followed in a similar way.
6. Edit and control experiments with ease
To easily change the name of your experiment, editing within the experiment couldn’t be easier. With the experiment menu, records can be opened and edited.
More than that, you can prevent further editing of an experiment once you have completed work. Locking an experiment is especially useful if it has already been reviewed and signed off by a colleague. From then on, only users with proper permissions will be able to unlock the experiment.
7. Run effective searches
Searching can be too broad; adding further criteria to your search for only relevant data makes searching very straightforward. You can search for your own experiments or those that you have permission to view.
You can filter the search according to specific criteria to narrow the results and sort your matches. For a more sophisticated search, you can also add wild cards to search for text by enclosing it in *asterixis*, or search for phrases by enclosing the phrase you are looking for in “double quotation” marks.
Text search examines all records and items by their titles, captions, tags, keywords and comments. Content in the item will be searched as well, including image annotations and PDF and MS Office file content. All results that match these criteria will be displayed.
Additionally, you can filter the results shown by team, scientist, experiment type, status, version, and last edited. Adding details to your search helps to focus it, enabling you to look for specific properties within your records. For example, you can specify that the phrase you are looking for is in the caption of the experiment and was created by your colleague last week.
8. Reuse your searches by saving them
Save your search for reusability – save it for yourself OR on the Navigator to share it with colleagues. This is particularly useful if you run a search often, as you will not have to re-create it; added text, details and filters are all saved. Saving it allows you to access the filtered search results in a matter of seconds and share it with colleagues. In addition, you can save your search in different locations – in the Navigator to allow other users to access it, or in your personal work area so that only you can view it.
9. Set default searches
Save a search as your DEFAULT search to prevent needing to save it each time you run a search. Those searches saved in your personal work area will only be visible to you and allow you to manage your saved searches. For example, a search can be set as your default search that will load when you open the search window. New searches will be added to the top by default, but these can be dragged into a different order if preferred. If the search is no longer needed, it can be edited or deleted.
10. Landing Pages show a summary of recent activity
Create a Landing Page in your Notebook to easily access most recent experiments and sign-off tasks. This will provide a summary of all entities below the chosen point in the hierarchy. For example, all experiments within a folder, all folders and experiments within a project, etc. depending on the hierarchy configuration. With the summary of information displayed in this dashboard, you can quickly view your Active Tasks, page links, project tags, recent records and Activity Feed all in one place.
With these tips in practice, you’ll be using your E-WorkBook to its maximum – another step towards streamlining your scientific processes and making your workflows more efficient.
To find out how E-WorkBook can help you save time and effort in your day-to-day laboratory work, get in touch with our team.