Gerard Oleksik, Natasa Milic-Frayling, and Rachel Jones
Prolific adoption of digital media across scientific fields has led to inevitable transformation of a traditional lab book into an electronic lab notebook (ELN). Research so far has focussed on designing ELN prototypes and learning from their limited deployments. At the same time, a variety of commercially available ELNs have been adopted by industrial and academic laboratories. That provides opportunities for situated research and a deeper understanding of the role that ELNs assumes as an integral part of a scientific environment. In this paper we present a study of ELN design that has emerged as scientists appropriated commercial off-the-shelf note-taking software and adapted it to their work. Through in-situ observations we analysed the interplay between the technology and emerging practices. Our study revealed a tension that is intrinsic to the digital nature of ELNs: a conflict between the flexibility, fluidity, and low threshold for modifying digital records and the requirement for persistence and consistency. This led to refined requirements and design considerations for ELNs.
|Published in||Proceedings of Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW'14)|
CSCW ’14, February 15–19, 2014, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Copyright 2014 ACM