Ideas for “lab notebook” software?

So this is an odd fit, though really I think it’s an odd fit for any site, so I thought I’d try it here, among my data-crunching brethren.

I came to epidemiology and biostatistics from biology, and still definitely have some habits from that field. One of them is keeping a lab notebook. It’s useful for documenting thoughts, decisions, musings about the analysis, etc. All in one place, everything committed so I can look back on analysis later and have some clue what I did.

But it would be nice to move that into the 21st century. Particularly because even though the lab notebook system is decent enough for one person and documenting decisions, it would be nice to be able to attach plots from EDA, emails from data managers discussing a particular data set, etc.

I’m guessing this will involve rigging up my own system from an unholy union of many different bits, but is anyone currently using a system and have any recommendations?

Answer

These are called Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN).

Here are some of the open source options I’ve looked at:

  1. The Sage Notebook.

  2. The new IPython Notebook, which can now be run as a webapp on EC2 and Azure.

  3. Leo, which can be used with IPython and in many other ways.

  4. Various wiki, blogging, and CMS solutions.

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