Professional working at computer notebooks is associated with high requirements on the body posture in the seated position. By the high continuous static muscle stress resulting from this position at notebooks, professionals frequently working at notebooks for long hours are exposed to an increased risk of musculoskeletal complaints. Especially in subjects with back pain, new notebooks should be evaluated with a focus on rehabilitative issues.
In a field study a new notebook design with adjustable screen was analyzed and compared to standard notebook position.
There are highly significant differences in the visual axis of individuals who are seated in the novel notebook position in comparison to the standard position. Also, differences are present between further alternative notebook positions. Testing of gender and glasses did not reveal influences.
This study demonstrates that notebooks with adjustable screen may be used to improve the posture. Future studies may focus on patients with musculoskeletal diseases.
With massive amounts of data being generated in electronic format, there is a need in basic science laboratories to adopt new methods for tracking and analyzing data. An electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) is not just a replacement for a paper lab notebook, it is a new method of storing and organizing data while maintaining the data entry flexibility and legal recording functions of paper notebooks. Paper notebooks are regarded as highly flexible since the user can configure it to store almost anything that can be written or physically pasted onto the pages. However, data retrieval and data sharing from paper notebooks are labor intensive processes and notebooks can be misplaced, a single point of failure that loses all entries in the volume. Additional features provided by electronic notebooks include searchable indices, data sharing, automatic archiving for security against loss and ease of data duplication. Furthermore, ELNs can be tasked with additional functions not commonly found in paper notebooks such as inventory control. While ELNs have been on the market for some time now, adoption of an ELN in academic basic science laboratories has been lagging. Issues that have restrained development and adoption of ELN in research laboratories are the sheer variety and frequency of changes in protocols with a need for the user to control notebook configuration outside the framework of professional IT staff support. In this commentary, we will look at some of the issues and experiences in academic laboratories that have proved challenging in implementing an electronic lab notebook.
The electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) has the potential to replace the paper notebook with a marked-up digital record that can be searched and shared. However, it is a challenge to achieve these benefits without losing the usability and flexibility of traditional paper notebooks. We investigate a blog-based platform that addresses the issues associated with the development of a flexible system for recording scientific research.
We chose a blog-based approach with the journal characteristics of traditional notebooks in mind, recognizing the potential for linking together procedures, materials, samples, observations, data, and analysis reports. We implemented the LabTrove blog system as a server process written in PHP, using a MySQL database to persist posts and other research objects. We incorporated a metadata framework that is both extensible and flexible while promoting consistency and structure where appropriate. Our experience thus far is that LabTrove is capable of providing a successful electronic laboratory recording system.
LabTrove implements a one-item one-post system, which enables us to uniquely identify each element of the research record, such as data, samples, and protocols. This unique association between a post and a research element affords advantages for monitoring the use of materials and samples and for inspecting research processes. The combination of the one-item one-post system, consistent metadata, and full-text search provides us with a much more effective record than a paper notebook. The LabTrove approach provides a route towards reconciling the tensions and challenges that lie ahead in working towards the long-term goals for ELNs. LabTrove, an electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) system from the Smart Research Framework, based on a blog-type framework with full access control, facilitates the scientific experimental recording requirements for reproducibility, reuse, repurposing, and redeployment.
This article presents a plethora of fragments from the medical notebooks found in the Cairo Genizah that comprise a unique source of historical data for scholarly study and for a better understanding of the ways in which medieval medical knowledge in Egypt was transferred from theory to practice and vice versa. These documents provide the most direct evidence we have for preferred practical medical recipes because they record the choices of medical practitioners in medieval Cairo. Since the language most commonly used in them was Judaeo-Arabic, they were evidently written by Jews. The medical genre in the notebooks was primarily pharmacopoeic, consisting of apparently original recipes for the treatment of various diseases. There are also a few notebooks on materia medica. The subject matter of the Genizah medical notebooks shows that they were mostly of an eclectic nature, i.e. the writers had probably learnt about these treatments and recipes from their teachers, applied them at the hospitals where they worked or copied them from the books they read. Foremost among the subjects dealt with were eye diseases, followed by skin diseases, coughs and colds, dentistry and oral hygiene, and gynaecological conditions. The writers of the Genizah notebooks apparently recorded the practical medical knowledge they wished to preserve for their future use as amateur physicians, students, traditional healers or professional practitioners.
Cairo Genizah; History of Medicine; Jewish; Medieval Middle East; Middle Ages; Notebook
The experience of one team of doctors supporting offshore paramedics in the North Sea is described. During 1985 all cases for which radio advice from a doctor was sought by offshore paramedics and all cases referred for examination by a doctor were analysed. Of the 743 cases 528 (71%) were referred for examination by a doctor and for 215 (29%) the offshore paramedics sought radio advice only. Injury formed the largest category of disorder for both groups of cases. The majority of patients referred for examination were seen in the doctor's surgery and following examination over half were cared for at home by their own general practitioner.
Part diary, part scientific record, biological field notebooks often contain details necessary to understanding the location and environmental conditions existent during collecting events. Despite their clear value for (and recent use in) global change studies, the text-mining outputs from field notebooks have been idiosyncratic to specific research projects, and impossible to discover or re-use. Best practices and workflows for digitization, transcription, extraction, and integration with other sources are nascent or non-existent. In this paper, we demonstrate a workflow to generate structured outputs while also maintaining links to the original texts. The first step in this workflow was to place already digitized and transcribed field notebooks from the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History founder, Junius Henderson, on Wikisource, an open text transcription platform. Next, we created Wikisource templates to document places, dates, and taxa to facilitate annotation and wiki-linking. We then requested help from the public, through social media tools, to take advantage of volunteer efforts and energy. After three notebooks were fully annotated, content was converted into XML and annotations were extracted and cross-walked into Darwin Core compliant record sets. Finally, these recordsets were vetted, to provide valid taxon names, via a process we call “taxonomic referencing.” The result is identification and mobilization of 1,068 observations from three of Henderson’s thirteen notebooks and a publishable Darwin Core record set for use in other analyses. Although challenges remain, this work demonstrates a feasible approach to unlock observations from field notebooks that enhances their discovery and interoperability without losing the narrative context from which those observations are drawn.
“Compose your notes as if you were writing a letter to someone a century in the future.”
Perrine and Patton (2011)
Field notes; notebooks; crowd sourcing; digitization; biodiversity; transcription; text-mining; Darwin Core; Junius Henderson; annotation; taxonomic referencing; natural history; Wikisource; Colorado; species occurrence records
Lancet is a new, simulator-independent Python utility for succinctly specifying, launching, and collating results from large batches of interrelated computationally demanding program runs. This paper demonstrates how to combine Lancet with IPython Notebook to provide a flexible, lightweight, and agile workflow for fully reproducible scientific research. This informal and pragmatic approach uses IPython Notebook to capture the steps in a scientific computation as it is gradually automated and made ready for publication, without mandating the use of any separate application that can constrain scientific exploration and innovation. The resulting notebook concisely records each step involved in even very complex computational processes that led to a particular figure or numerical result, allowing the complete chain of events to be replicated automatically. Lancet was originally designed to help solve problems in computational neuroscience, such as analyzing the sensitivity of a complex simulation to various parameters, or collecting the results from multiple runs with different random starting points. However, because it is never possible to know in advance what tools might be required in future tasks, Lancet has been designed to be completely general, supporting any type of program as long as it can be launched as a process and can return output in the form of files. For instance, Lancet is also heavily used by one of the authors in a separate research group for launching batches of microprocessor simulations. This general design will allow Lancet to continue supporting a given research project even as the underlying approaches and tools change.
IPython; pandas; reproducibility; workflow; simulation; batch computation; provenance; big data
The Journey Project, part of the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries' Social Work Information Specialist in Context Fellowship, was designed to merge social work and consumer health librarianship skills in order to improve the provision of health information to patients. A resource notebook was created encompassing the many dimensions of cancer health information. A social work informationist distributed the notebooks and provided individualized consultations with respect to patients' health information needs. Areas of congruence as well as key differences between social work and consumer health librarianship emerged during the course of the project. Merging the two professions into the role of a social work informationist increased the ability to attend holistically to clients' health information needs.
During the past several years, Baylor College of Medicine has made a substantial commitment to the use of information technology in support of its corporate and academic programs. The concept of an Integrated Academic Information Management System (IAIMS) has proved central in our planning, and the IAIMS activities that we have undertaken with funding from the National Library of Medicine have proved to be important extensions of our technology development. Here we describe our Virtual Notebook system, a conceptual and technologic framework for task coordination and information management in biomedical work groups. When fully developed and deployed, the Virtual Notebook will improve the functioning of basic and clinical research groups in the college, and it currently serves as a model for the longer-term development of our entire information management environment.
eCAT is an electronic lab notebook (ELN) developed by Axiope Limited. It is the first online ELN, the first ELN to be developed in close collaboration with lab scientists, and the first ELN to be targeted at researchers in non-commercial institutions. eCAT was developed in response to feedback from users of a predecessor product. By late 2006 the basic concept had been clarified: a highly scalable web-based collaboration tool that possessed the basic capabilities of commercial ELNs, i.e. a permissions system, controlled sharing, an audit trail, electronic signature and search, and a front end that looked like the electronic counterpart to a paper notebook.
During the development of the beta version feedback was incorporated from many groups including the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research, Uppsala University, Children's Hospital Boston, Alex Swarbrick's lab at the Garvan Institute in Sydney and Martin Spitaler at Imperial College. More than 100 individuals and groups worldwide then participated in the beta testing between September 2008 and June 2009. The generally positive response is reflected in the following quote about how one lab is making use of eCAT: "Everyone uses it as an electronic notebook, so they can compile the diverse collections of data that we generate as biologists, such as images and spreadsheets. We use to it to take minutes of meetings. We also use it to manage our common stocks of antibodies, plasmids and so on. Finally, perhaps the most important feature for us is the ability to link records, reagents and experiments."
By developing eCAT in close collaboration with lab scientists, Axiope has come up with a practical and easy-to-use product that meets the need of scientists to manage, store and share data online. eCAT is already being perceived as a product that labs can continue to use as their data management and sharing grows in scale and complexity.
Currently most biomedical labs in universities and government funded research institutions use paper lab notebooks for recording experimental data and spreadsheets for managing sample data. One consequence is that sample management and documenting experiments are viewed as separate and distinct activities, notwithstanding that samples and aliquots are an integral part of a majority of the experiments carried out by these labs.
Various drivers are pushing labs towards integrated management of sample data and experimental data. These include the ever increasing amounts of both kinds of data, the increasing adoption of online collaborative tools, changing expectations about online communication, and the increasing affordability of electronic lab notebooks and sample management software. There is now an opportunity for smaller labs, which have been slow to move from paper to electronic record keeping, to leapfrog better resourced commercial labs and lead the way in adopting the new generation of tools which permit integrated management of samples and experimental data and a range of tangible benefits to conducting research, including:
1. Fewer lost and mislabelled samples
2. Clearer visualization of relationships between samples and experiments
3. Reduction of experimental error
4. More effective search
5. Productivity gains
6. More efficient use of freezers, leading to cost reduction and enhanced sustainability
7. Improved archiving and enhanced memory at the lab and institutional levels
Individuals with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) have few empirically-based treatment options for combating their memory loss. This study sought to examine the efficacy of a calendar/notebook rehabilitation intervention, the Memory Support System (MSS), for individuals with amnestic MCI.
Forty individuals with single domain amnestic MCI and their program partners were randomized to receive the MSS, either with training or without (controls). Measures of adherence, activities of daily living, and emotional impact were completed at the first and last intervention session and again at 8-weeks and 6 months post intervention.
Training in use of a notebook/calendar system significantly improved adherence over those who received the calendars but no training. Functional ability and memory self efficacy significantly improved for those who received MSS training. Change in functional ability remained significantly better in the intervention group than in the control group out to 8 week follow up. Care partners in the intervention group demonstrated improved mood by 8 week and 6 month follow-up, while control care partners reported worse caregiver burden by 6 month follow up.
MSS training resulted in improvement in ADLs and sense of memory self efficacy for individuals with MCI. While ADL benefits were maintained out to 8 weeks post intervention, future inclusion of booster sessions may help extend the therapeutic effect out even further. Improved mood of care partners of trained individuals and worsening sense of caregiver burden over time for partners of untrained individuals further supports the efficacy of the MSS for MCI.
Mild Cognitive Impairment; Rehabilitation; Behavioral Intervention; Activities of Daily Living; Quality of Life; Caregivers
The need to train physicians committed to learning throughout their careers has prompted medical schools to encourage the development and practice of self-regulated learning by students. Longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) require students to exercise self-regulated learning skills. As mobile tools, tablets can potentially support self-regulation among LIC students.
We provided 15 LIC students with tablet computers with access to the electronic health record (EHR), to track their patient cohort, and a multiplatform online notebook, to support documentation and retrieval of self-identified clinical learning issues. Students received a 1-hour workshop on the relevant features of the tablet and online notebook. Two focus groups with the students were used to evaluate the program, one early and one late in the year and were coded by two raters.
Students used the tablet to support their self-regulated learning in ways that were unique to their learning styles and increased access to resources and utilization of down-time. Students who used the tablet to self-monitor and target learning demonstrated the utility of tablets as learning tools.
LICs are environments rich in opportunity for self-regulated learning. Tablets can enhance students’ ability to develop and employ self-regulatory skills in a clinical context.
mobile learning; self-regulated learning; clinical learning; longitudinal integrated clerkship; workplace learning
MeduMobile was a project to develop and evaluate learning scenarios for medical students and teachers by use of video communication and notebooks. Its core part was assigned to various medical routines, conferences or meetings such as doctor-patient bedside conversation. These were filmed by video teams and broadcasted live via the WLAN of the Charité campus to course participating students. One type of the learning arrangements was the autopsy conference as an on-call scenario.
Materials and methods
The MeduMobile project consisted of two main compartments: the regular seminar event which took place every week or month, and the on-call event. For an on-call event the students were informed two hours before the lesson's start. A mobile video team organised the video conference via a specific MeduMobile seminar system. This software offered the students to log. The MeduMobile seminar system is based on the Windows operating system and realises an extended video communication via WLAN. Thirteen access points were implemented at the Charité Campus Virchow Klinikum and Campus Mitte. A questionnaire was developed to investigate in the response and learning effect of the mobile seminar system.
During the MeduMobile project 42 video conferences with (cumulative) 145 participating students took place. Four autopsy conferences could be organised as on-call scenarios within this project. A prospective, not randomised follow-up study was included 25 students of the 1st – 6th clinical semester. According to the answers, professional reasoning, professional performance, sustainability, and the complexity were broadly accepted by the students.
In principle, the MeduMobile realised an interdisciplinary case presentation using video conference and web page. The evaluation indicates a high acception of such complex case presentation with multidisciplinary settings. The use of the notebooks in mobile learning enables an interconnective training and promotes a complex learning.
This paper presents the Bioinformatics Computational Journal (BCJ), a framework for conducting and managing computational experiments in bioinformatics and computational biology. These experiments often involve series of computations, data searches, filters, and annotations which can benefit from a structured environment. Systems to manage computational experiments exist, ranging from libraries with standard data models to elaborate schemes to chain together input and output between applications. Yet, although such frameworks are available, their use is not widespread–ad hoc scripts are often required to bind applications together. The BCJ explores another solution to this problem through a computer based environment suitable for on-site use, which builds on the traditional laboratory notebook paradigm. It provides an intuitive, extensible paradigm designed for expressive composition of applications. Extensive features facilitate sharing data, computational methods, and entire experiments. By focusing on the bioinformatics and computational biology domain, the scope of the computational framework was narrowed, permitting us to implement a capable set of features for this domain. This report discusses the features determined critical by our system and other projects, along with design issues. We illustrate the use of our implementation of the BCJ on two domain-specific examples.
This article introduces a desktop application, named Concierge, for managing personal digital research resources. Using simple operations, it enables storage of various types of files and indexes them based on content descriptions. A key feature of the software is a high level of extensibility. By installing optional plug-ins, users can customize and extend the usability of the software based on their needs. In this paper, we also introduce a few optional plug-ins: literature management, electronic laboratory notebook, and XooNlps client plug-ins. XooNIps is a content management system developed to share digital research resources among neuroscience communities. It has been adopted as the standard database system in Japanese neuroinformatics projects. Concierge, therefore, offers comprehensive support from management of personal digital research resources to their sharing in open-access neuroinformatics databases such as XooNIps. This interaction between personal and open-access neuroinformatics databases is expected to enhance the dissemination of digital research resources. Concierge is developed as an open source project; Mac OS X and Windows XP versions have been released at the official site (http://concierge.sourceforge.jp).
software; resource management; resource sharing
OBJECTIVE: Because anecdotal evidence indicates that the behaviour of cars (and their drivers) with respect to bicycles is highly variable, this study was undertaken to determine whether car colour correlates with the space allowed by the driver for passing a bicycle. DESIGN: Randomized recollection. SETTING: The streets of Vancouver and Burnaby, BC. PARTICIPANTS: The author, her bike, lots of cars and a few transit buses. METHODS: For a 10-day period in the summer of 1998, the investigator attempted, while cycling, to remember car colours and associated behaviours until she reached her various destinations. Data were eventually recorded in a tattered spiral-bound notebook saved from university days. OUTCOME MEASURES: Numbers of cars in 2 categories: "good" (those that gave extra space to cyclists) and "bad" (those that didn't). RESULTS: Read the article to find out. CONCLUSION: Although there was a slightly greater chance that a passing car would give a cyclist extra space, riders should be especially cautious when they catch sight of white and maroon vehicles.
When Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species 150 years ago he consciously avoided discussing the origin of life. However, analysis of some other texts written by Darwin, and of the correspondence he exchanged with friends and colleagues demonstrates that he took for granted the possibility of a natural emergence of the first life forms. As shown by notes from the pages he excised from his private notebooks, as early as 1837 Darwin was convinced that “the intimate relation of Life with laws of chemical combination, & the universality of latter render spontaneous generation not improbable”. Like many of his contemporaries, Darwin rejected the idea that putrefaction of preexisting organic compounds could lead to the appearance of organisms. Although he favored the possibility that life could appear by natural processes from simple inorganic compounds, his reluctance to discuss the issue resulted from his recognition that at the time it was possible to undertake the experimental study of the emergence of life.
Darwin; Warm little pond; Origin of life; Spontaneous generation
The University of Minnesota Medical School has an innovative curriculum, called Didactic/Selective, which provides third- and fourth-year medical students with multidisciplinary and multispecialty courses. Within this framework, the Bio-Medical Library planned a course to teach the knowledge and skills necessary for library research and information management. It included (1) searching case-related topics in print indexes, (2) formulating and processing MEDLINE searches on BRS Colleague, (3) building a personal file with PC-File or Notebook, and (4) exploring various methods for current awareness. Students' evaluations were positive, with the majority indicating that they found the course interesting and the knowledge gained substantial.
In recent years, the genome biology community has expended considerable effort to confront the challenges of managing heterogeneous data in a structured and organized way and developed laboratory information management systems (LIMS) for both raw and processed data. On the other hand, electronic notebooks were developed to record and manage scientific data, and facilitate data-sharing. Software which enables both, management of large datasets and digital recording of laboratory procedures would serve a real need in laboratories using medium and high-throughput techniques.
We have developed iLAP (Laboratory data management, Analysis, and Protocol development), a workflow-driven information management system specifically designed to create and manage experimental protocols, and to analyze and share laboratory data. The system combines experimental protocol development, wizard-based data acquisition, and high-throughput data analysis into a single, integrated system. We demonstrate the power and the flexibility of the platform using a microscopy case study based on a combinatorial multiple fluorescence in situ hybridization (m-FISH) protocol and 3D-image reconstruction. iLAP is freely available under the open source license AGPL from http://genome.tugraz.at/iLAP/.
iLAP is a flexible and versatile information management system, which has the potential to close the gap between electronic notebooks and LIMS and can therefore be of great value for a broad scientific community.
It is well-known that Charles Darwin sketched abstract trees of relationship in his 1837 notebook, and depicted a tree in the Origin of Species (1859). Here I attempt to place Darwin's trees in historical context. By the mid-Eighteenth century the Great Chain of Being was increasingly seen to be an inadequate description of order in nature, and by about 1780 it had been largely abandoned without a satisfactory alternative having been agreed upon. In 1750 Donati described aquatic and terrestrial organisms as forming a network, and a few years later Buffon depicted a network of genealogical relationships among breeds of dogs. In 1764 Bonnet asked whether the Chain might actually branch at certain points, and in 1766 Pallas proposed that the gradations among organisms resemble a tree with a compound trunk, perhaps not unlike the tree of animal life later depicted by Eichwald. Other trees were presented by Augier in 1801 and by Lamarck in 1809 and 1815, the latter two assuming a transmutation of species over time. Elaborate networks of affinities among plants and among animals were depicted in the late Eighteenth and very early Nineteenth centuries. In the two decades immediately prior to 1837, so-called affinities and/or analogies among organisms were represented by diverse geometric figures. Series of plant and animal fossils in successive geological strata were represented as trees in a popular textbook from 1840, while in 1858 Bronn presented a system of animals, as evidenced by the fossil record, in a form of a tree. Darwin's 1859 tree and its subsequent elaborations by Haeckel came to be accepted in many but not all areas of biological sciences, while network diagrams were used in others. Beginning in the early 1960s trees were inferred from protein and nucleic acid sequences, but networks were re-introduced in the mid-1990s to represent lateral genetic transfer, increasingly regarded as a fundamental mode of evolution at least for bacteria and archaea. In historical context, then, the Network of Life preceded the Tree of Life and might again supersede it.
This article was reviewed by Eric Bapteste, Patrick Forterre and Dan Graur.
The means we use to record the process of carrying out research remains tied to the concept of a paginated paper notebook despite the advances over the past decade in web based communication and publication tools. The development of these tools offers an opportunity to re-imagine what the laboratory record would look like if it were re-built in a web-native form. In this paper I describe a distributed approach to the laboratory record based which uses the most appropriate tool available to house and publish each specific object created during the research process, whether they be a physical sample, a digital data object, or the record of how one was created from another. I propose that the web-native laboratory record would act as a feed of relationships between these items. This approach can be seen as complementary to, rather than competitive with, integrative approaches that aim to aggregate relevant objects together to describe knowledge. The potential for the recent announcement of the Google Wave protocol to have a significant impact on realizing this vision is discussed along with the issues of security and provenance that are raised by such an approach.
To assess the effects of web-based care management on glucose and blood pressure control over 12 months in patients with poorly controlled diabetes mellitus.
Research Design and Methods
104 patients with diabetes mellitus and hemoglobin A1c ≥ 9.0% who received their care at a VA medical center were recruited. All participants completed a diabetes education class and were randomized to continue with usual care (n = 52) or receive web-based care management (n = 52). The care management group received a notebook computer, glucose and blood pressure monitoring devices and access to a care management website. The website provided educational modules, accepted uploads from monitoring devices, and had an internal messaging system for patients to communicate with the care manager.
Participants receiving web-based care management had lower hemoglobin A1c over 12 months (P<0.05) when compared to education and usual care. Persistent website users had greater improvement in hemoglobin A1c when compared to intermittent users (−1.9% vs. −1.2%, P=0.051) or education and usual care (−1.4%, P<0.05). Greater numbers of website data uploads were associated with larger declines in hemoglobin A1c (highest tertile −2.1%, lowest tertile: −1.0%, P<0.02). Hypertensive participants in the web-based care management group had a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure (P<0.01). HDL cholesterol rose and triglycerides fell in the web-based care management group (P<0.05).
Web-based care management may be a useful adjunct in the care of patients with poorly controlled diabetes mellitus.