DOE 2000 Electronic Notebook Project
May 2000 Status Report
Project Home Page

Al Geist (ORNL), Elena Mendoza (PNNL), Jim Myers (PNNL), Noel Nachtigal (SNL), Sonia Sachs (LBNL)


Laboratory notebooks are at the heart of scientific research. Notebooks allow researchers to plan their projects, organize their experiments, and record their results. Notebooks are also used as a long term, legally defensible, record of research, invention, and records management. The signed and time-stamped details provided in notebooks are used as evidence needed for regulatory compliance.

An electronic version of the scientific notebook extends the capabilities of its paper counterpart by allowing scientists located across the country to share the record of ideas, data, and events of their joint experiments and research programs.

Through a multi-lab collaboration, LBNL, ORNL, and PNNL are developing a modular, extensible, electronic notebook framework and using it to produce cross-platform interoperating notebook implementations. The implementations are based on modern object oriented design and allow Web based access to a notebook. The notebook implementations by conforming to a common notebook object and communication mechanism, notebooks can interoperate and to share components for input and display of sketches, text, equations, images, graphs, and other data types, as well as tools for authentication and other services.


Our electronic notebook research covers the three basic areas listed below. All three of the labs are working together to complete the specified subtasks. Progress is being made in all three areas and documented in a shared project notebook. The accomplishments section describes which tasks are completed.

Notebook Architecture Design

Develop Compliant Notebook Implementation(s) Make Electronic Notebooks Available to Collaboratories In addition we have close ties with and participate in meetings of the Collaborative Electronic Notebook Systems Consortium. CENSA's goal is to create and expand the markets for scientific laboratory software.

Highlights from past 12 months

Future and Ongoing Research

While much progress has been made in the design and development of base notebook functionality and interoperability, much research remains to be done before electronic notebooks will be able to meet the needs of the wide user base who stand to gain from the continued improvement in this technology. Below is a list of the most critical research areas identified by users of our prototype software.

Tool Availability

DOE2K notebook software is available and in use by 100's of groups around the country including collaboratories, industry, education, and medical research.

The fact that so many groups have started using our initial implementations underscores the importance and potential impact of this continued research across the entire scientific community.

Last Modified April 27, 2000