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Below you'll find two tutorials for setting up a digital notebook using a free and open platform or using an Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) paid for by Brown University.
The Open Science Framework (OSF) is a free online project management platform developed by the Center for Open Science that is often used as a cloud-based research notebook. OSF is open software, so it is your own account and you will still have access if you leave Brown. Although "science' is in the name it is subject agnostic and can just as easily be used by humanities researchers.
An OSF Project is made up of Components. Each component you create and add to your project can represent a discrete part or stage of your project. For example, you could create a component for your experimental protocol, the data you have collected, your analysis, and one for writing up the results. Each component has its own Wiki that you and your collaborators can use to record your notes, experimental steps, and observations.
You can connect any existing free cloud storage and popular collaborative platforms to a component, such as GitHub for analysis code or Google Drive or DropBox for shared folders of project files.
Go online and visit the URL: https://osf.io
Click on Sign In in the upper right corner.
If you do not have a Brown University username and password, then click Sign Up and follow steps to create a free OSF account.
After signing in, you arrive on your Dashboard page. Your dashboard will show the OSF projects that you have created and/or OSF projects that you have been added to as a collaborator. To create a new OSF project follow these steps.
After you create your OSF Project you will be taken to its landing page. At the top you will see the URL for your project, the title of your project, your name and any collaborators you add, and the privacy setting. The default privacy setting for your new OSF project and any components you add is private, which means it is only viewable by you and/or any collaborators that you have added. You can choose to change this and make the project or any of its components public at any time.
View the online tutorial Creating and Managing Projects on the OSF site or watch the video below for more information on creating an OSF Project.
On the landing page of your OSF Project, in the box titled Components, click on Add component and in the pop-up window give your component a name. You can repeat this as many times to add the separate parts comprising your project as they are required, such as a component for each of your experiments or for each of the stages of your project, such as an interview or survey. As you add components they will be listed on the Project’s landing page and you can reorder these, if needed. An important aspect of a component is integrating it with any tools that you and your collaborators use, such as GitHub repository or Google Drive, Box, or DropBox. To integrate these tools into your OSF Project components follow these steps.
View the online tutorials Create Components and Connecting Add-Ons on the OSF site or watch the video below for more information on creating components for your OSF Project and integrating cloud-based storage and collaborative tools .
You can team contributors and grant them certain permissions via these steps.
On your Project landing page select Contributors from the top toolbar.
View the online tutorial Contributors and Permissions on the OSF site or watch the video below for more information on adding collaborators to your OSF Project.
LabArchives@Brown (LabArchives Brown University Edition) is Brown University’s institutional paid subscription to LabArchives. It is available to all members of the Brown University community, including clinical faculty affiliates. LabArchives is an electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) platform that offers more advanced features than many open digital research notebook platforms, including unlimited storage and more secure storage and versioning options such as being FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliant. Create a LabArchives Electronic Lab Notebook by following the tutorial below.
Students can create as many LabArchives notebooks as they wish. Once logged in students can view the notebooks they own as well as ones shared with them.
If you are a student and are working on an independent project, then by default you will have the Owner Role of your notebooks that you create. You can choose to add collaborators and grant them certain viewing and editing privileges. As owner you can share an entry, page, folder or even your entire notebook with a collaborator. You can have your notebooks transferred to a private LabArchives account when you leave Brown so that you can retain access.
If you are working under a faculty member on their project or in their lab that uses LabArchives, then they may set up a notebook for you and invite you to the notebook as a User. You can make a copy of your LabArchives notebook before leaving Brown.
When you log-in to LabArchives@Brown you will see a landing page dashboard titled Notebooks. Along the left side bar you can sort and view all the notebooks that you have created as well as those you do not own but you have been provided with view access or added as a contributor to a notebook owned by someone else such as a faculty member serving as a Principal Investigator (PI).
If you do not have a Brown University username and password, then visit labarchives.com and create a free account by clicking Sign Up and following the steps to create a username and password. The free version of LabArchives does not have the same storage features as the LabArchives Brown University Edition, including restrictions on the size of a file that can be uploaded and total storage size.
When you log-in to LabArchives@Brown you will see a landing page dashboard on the top of left-side toolbar called Notebooks. Click on Notebooks and the + icon to create a new notebook.
In the next pop-up window Create a New Notebook you can enter a name for the new notebook, e.g., “Summer Research Project 20XX.” Next will be asked to choose a Folder Layout.
View the tutorial Getting Started on LabArchives site or watch the video below for more information.
After creating a new notebook you can start creating any folders and subfolders within folders where you want to store the pages of entries and/or project files.
In order to make an entry in your notebook, i.e., start writing notes and observations in your notebook or add a file or an attachment, you first have to create a Page. To keep your notebook organized it is recommended to organize pages with folders. For example, you could create a folder and name it the name of the project and then create subfolders named with the date, YYYYMMDD to hold the pages created on that date.
To make an entry on a page find the page you would like to add the entry.
Remember to save an entry to the page by clicking Save to Page.
View the online tutorial Creating and Managing Entries on LabArchives site or watch the video below for more information.
View the online tutorial Sharing LabArchives Notebooks on the LabArchives site or view the video below for more information.
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