Data Elements

Data reproducibility requires that all protocols, methods, and results are properly annotated and can be accessed anytime by you, your colleagues, and even external scientists. Unfortunately, data in your lab notebook is not structured, reducing the possibility to reproduce it.

Let’s be honest for a moment. How annoying is it that all our data inputs are not always formatted in the same manner? Sometimes we write 500 ul, other times we used 0,5 ml to annotate the exact same step in the same protocol. Although we know that both values are the same, our lab notebook does not…. Well, it didn’t!

labfolder’s Data Elements (DE) block is the perfect tool to help you organize your experimental parameters. You can pick from different physical quantities and units to write down your parameters and you can also link to your lab’s inventory items.

The Data Elements block

DE are a new type of block that you can find in the entry header next to the Text, Table, Sketch, and Upload icons.
You have these possibilities when working on the DE block:

  • Insert a Numerical Data element for quantitative experimental parameters.
  • Insert a Descriptive Data Element to document parameters with qualitative data.
  • Insert a Data group with several experimental parameters.
  • Insert an item from your Material Database, referenced here as a Material element.


Numerical Data element

Enter a single DE

  1. Click on the Data Elements icon.
  2. Add a Data element by specifying:
    1. Data element name.
    2. Physical quantity (mandatory).
    3. Amount.
    4. Units (mandatory).
      Save the block.


Descriptive Data Elements

Descriptive Data Elements

  1. Select Descriptive DE.
  2. Specify the Data Element Name.
  3. Enter in the Data Element Description
  4. Save the block.

Data group

Create a Data Element group

  1. Select Data group.
  2. Add a name to the group (e.g. PCR).
  3. Click on the + icon next to the group name.
  4. Add one or more single elements.
  5. Save the block.


Material Database element

Upload an item in your MDB into your Data Elements

  1. Click on the Data Elements icon.
  2. Select Material element.
  3. Search for the name of the MDB element.
  4. Select the desired item.
  5. Save the block.


Connecting your ELN and MDB


The Material Database elements are the key to the connection between your ELN and the Material Database. It enables you to reference the items listed in your database to your entries. When you do reference something from your material database, a hyperlink is created.

Connecting your MDB to DE

The item it links to is versioned, so will not be affected if you make changes to the item in your material database. You will see a note at the bottom of the page saying that a newer version of the item is available.

MDB items are versioned


Upgrade your templates

Data Elements are also extremely useful for your templates. You can duplicate your entire protocol with an empty amount for the DE elements that can be filled every time someone uses the template.

Upgrade your Templates

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