What is an Electronic Lab Notebook?

An Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) is a tool for keeping track of your research, collaborating with others, and sharing resources. LabArchives ELN is flexible and can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. Everything that is uploaded or entered into LabArchives is searchable, time- and date-stamped, and versioned, making it easy to keep track of all of your research data.

  • The ability to share and collaborate on notebooks by multiple parties
  • The ability to store multiple file types, including images, GraphPad Prism, FlowJo, PDFs, and Office documents
  • The ability to create templates, forms, and custom applications for routine laboratory tasks
  • The ability to provide feedback on students’ notebooks
  • Storage of every version of every file, recording the date, time, and username.

Access to LabArchives

UT Southwestern uses Southwestern IDs to access LabArchives ELN Accounts.

LabArchives support can be reached at 800-653-5016,, via online chat, and also through the LabArchives online Help section under the Support tab.

If you have any questions or issues with your Southwestern ID, please contact the UT Southwestern Service Desk 214-648-7600.

Notebook Setup for PIs

Set yourself up first

If you are the lab PI, you should set up all of your notebooks and folders for your lab and then share your notebooks with your researchers. For guidance on how you might set up your notebook structure, please refer to the LabArchives structure flowchart.


  • Who will be creating and managing the labs notebooks and adding users: the PI or Administrators?
  • How would you like to structure your ELN accounts? Use the chart to help determine this.
  • How many notebooks will be needed for the lab?
  • Will these notebooks follow a standard structure/hierarchy or will this structure evolve with lab usage? It can be helpful to examine how digital data for projects/lab members is currently organized, then use this to gauge how the labs data will be organized.
  • What lab members will have access to which notebooks (or which sections), and what level of access would you like to provide each user (read-only or edit rights)?
  • Are there groups of users in the lab that require the same level of access to the labs notebooks?

The PI is the owner, in a typical lab set-up, and creates his/her account as the starting point. Next, the PI should create the appropriate number of notebooks based on the response given to #4.

If the Administrators will be doing this step (#2), the PI only needs to add the Admins to the first notebook. The Admins will then be enabled to create new notebooks and add all the lab personnel.

Note that a selection between two choices will be presented when an Admin starts to create a new notebook: 1) is the account owned by the PI; or, 2) is it their own personal notebook? They should always choose the option for the Account owned by the PI to allow for data sharing. The users can be added to the appropriate notebooks after the notebooks are created.

An optional step in the process is to create a standard structure for the notebooks and copy this structure to each notebook prior to adding any users. You can begin to add the users to each notebook and set the role, rights, and group status in each notebook.

“Groups” is an important management tool which enables rights/permissions to be set simultaneously for all members at a grouped unit level; instead of managing roles/permissions of each member individually.