Customer Support >> FAQs: Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN)

Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN)

An electronic lab notebook (ELN) is a software application designed for enhancing or replacing today’s standard of paper notebooks to manage and archive experimental data.

In BrightLab ELN, users can easily plan and design experiments and procedures, collaborate across experiments within and beyond the lab, share experiments for review and approval, clone and evolve experiments based on previous activity, securely archive all of their experimental data, and easily export data and findings to create publications. BrightLab ELN supports compliance with FDA’s 21 CFR Part 11 regulations for audit trail and electronic signature and allows for use in regulated environments 

 A template management system allows for convenient storage and usage of experimental protocols or testing procedures/SOPs. 

You can access the ELN from the main dashboard when you first log in, or from the side navigation panel at any time. Click the ELN icon along the left navigation panel, or click “My Recent Experiments” on the dashboard to open the ELN.

BrightLab ELN Dashboard

The ELN landing page is where your experiment content, including projects and templates will reside. On this page, you will view “My Projects” and “Templates.” My Projects will contain manually created research projects (experiment, protocol or any user defined content) and Templates will contain research projects (experiments and protocols) saved as templates.

BrightLab ELN Module Crop

An ELN page can be used to organize teams, projects, experiments, protocols, or any other user-defined content. Click the yellow folder icon on the ELN landing page to create a new ELN page.

BrightLab ELN Add Page
  • Under “My Projects,” you can save manually create content (experiment, protocol, or any user defined content) as ELN pages.
  • The ELN page structure is developed to allow you to create individual projects or nested projects, which need to be connected within a hierarchical structure. The option to add ELN pages and subpages at any level within a project hierarchy gives you the ability to organize your content with improved flexibility and customizability.
  • In the ELN module, you have the ability to structure and organize your research in a way that makes the most sense to you and your team.

A template is a replica of a previously created experiment, protocol, or project that can be reused.  The template contains the “boilerplate” language to assist with protocol development but content may be modified as necessary to meet the scientific aims of the study.

If you want to save a new or existing ELN page as a template, click the ellipsis button (image below) next to the project name, and select the “Save as Template” option. This will save the project page as a template, and can be viewed under the “Templates” folder in the ELN.

Add template 1Add template 2

You can also save a project as a template by clicking the ellipsis button to the right of the project title name and select the “Save as Template” option.

Add template 3

This is where you build and organize content for a project. An ELN detail page for a newly created project will appear as shown in the image below. The detail page includes the following:

Control Panel:

Highlights all sections created within a project and the corresponding inventory materials used. It serves many purposes which include display of project sections and option to hide sections if you want to work on a specific section. Within the control panel you can also delete, drag and reorder sections. The control panel includes the following sections:

  1. Description is one of the default sections within an ELN page where you can add description for your project. The first section is created for you so you can start entering content right away.
  2. Add Section(s): Section is where the content resides within an ELN page. Sections are added to help structure the content into various categories for easy viewing and organization. You can change the name of any section or delete any section you choose to.

ELN Page Header:

A unique ID is created in the system for every ELN page. It appears under the page name as a six-digit alphanumeric string, followed by the name of the person creating the project and start date. The last modified date appears at the far right of the project name of an ELN page.

ELN Page Header

Yes, a unique ID is created in BrightLab for every ELN page. It appears under the page name as a six-digit alphanumeric string, followed by the name of the person creating the project and start date.

To create/modify the title of an ELN page, click the pencil icon next to the page title. Then, you will need to enter a new title or modify an existing title. The title has a limit of 50 characters.

ELN Add Title

To add description to a section, click the “Add Description” box or the pencil icon located to the far right to type content. Then, click the checkmark icon to save or the “X” icon to cancel.

ELN Add Description 1ELN Add Description 2

Section is where the content resides within an ELN page. Sections can be added to help structure and organize the ELN page.

  • Click the “Add Section” button in the control panel to add a new section to an ELN page.
ELN Add Section 1
  • When you click “Add Section,” pop-up window appears as shown in the image below. Enter the section name and select the section type. Click the “Add” button to add section.

Text, Image, Files: Write texts or organize attachments in this section, which is locked when the ELN page is marked as completed and signed. Examples: “Abstracts” or “Related White Papers.”

Comments: Comments and attachments can be added to this section even after the ELN has been marked as completed. Examples: “Reviewer comments” or “Team input.”

ELN Add Section 2

Within each section of an ELN page, attachment and comments can be added using the ellipsis button located at the far right, as shown in the image below. You can also delete a section by clicking the delete icon next to the section name, in the control panel (second image below). After attaching a file, click the download icon to open the file.

ELN Section Attachments

Once you upload the attachment to a section, click the download icon to download and open the attachment.

ELN Open Attachment

To delete an icon, simply click the trashcan icon.

ELN Delete Attachment

Sections within an ELN page can be dragged and moved to reorder so it makes the most sense for your project. To drag and move sections, select the section you want to move and drag it to the location you want it to reside.

Yes, you can hide sections by clicking the eye icon located by the section you want to hide, in the control panel.

A subpage is created to add new page(s) to an existing ELN project. Subpages serve multiple purposes. It can serve as an independent page or subpage of a project that can be saved as template for other projects, or can simply represent steps within a project. Subpages can be added within a subpage when nested projects are created to be connected within a hierarchical structure.

The option to add subpages at any level within a project hierarchy gives you the ability to organize your content with complete flexibility and customizability. Another unique advantage of creating subpages within nested projects is the ability to “mark specific subpages within a project as complete” before finishing the entire project. This will allow the page to be e-signed and have its content locked.

  • To add a subpage, click the ellipsis icon on the top right of an ELN page. Select “Add New Subpage.”
ELN Add Subpage 1
  • After you add a subpage, a new page is created on the ELN appears as shown in the image. The added subpage can also be viewed in the control panel.
ELN Add Subpage 2

Any content saved as a template can be added to an ELN page or subpage. You can add an ELN page that has been saved as a template into an existing project using this option. Click the ellipsis icon to select “Add from Template.”

ELN Add Template

To clone an ELN page, click the ellipsis icon and select the “Clone” option. The cloned ELN page can be viewed under “My Projects” as shown below.

Clone ELN Page 1Clone ELN Page 2

Click the ellipsis icon on the far right of the ELN page and select the “Delete” option to delete a page. For every delete option chosen within ELN, a message will appear to ask if you’d like to confirm deleting the page.

Delete ELN Page 1Delete ELN Page 2

You can manage permissions and share access with lab members by selecting the “Manage Permission” option from the ellipsis icon. Permissions are inherited, much like sharing a folder in Google drive. Granting access to a page will automatically grant access to all subpages within the page.

ELN Manage Permissions

To view the lab’s activity log of an ELN page, click the ellipsis icon and select “Activity Logs.”

ELN Activity Log

Marking an ELN page or project as complete is permanent and will accomplish the following:

  • Deduct materials from lab inventory.
  • Record the date given below as the execution date of the experiment and all remaining unchecked steps.
  • Upon completion, all elements will become non-editable EXCEPT Comments & Comment sections.  This section requires electronic signature.
ELN Mark Complete