Inventory

All laboratories have different sorts of inventory lists for plasmids, antibodies, chemicals, bacterial stocks, etc. In your electronic notebook, you can create such inventories in the form of a Material Database (MDB).

Labfolder’s MDB is a highly customizable tool: You can create as many categories and items as you need. Furthermore, you can also define your items’ attributes. In this guide we will show you how to create this very common inventory structure:

  • Primary antibodies (category)
    • ATP13A2 (item)
      • Clonality (attribute)
      • Lot number (attribute)
      • Application (attribute)
    • Alpha-synuclein (item)
  • Secondary antibodies (category)

Activate the app

The Material Database app can be installed for free via our App Store and can be accessed via the Manage menu.

Install the MDB app

 

  1. Go to Manage > Apps.
  2. Click Activate on the Material Database tile.
  3. Go to Manage > Material Database.

Create your inventory

Labfolder’s Material Database allows you to incorporate your inventory lists and directly link them to your laboratory notes. You can create material lists by manually adding them or uploading existing inventories.

Add categories with attributes

Within your MDB, you are able to organize your inventory in categories and assign attributes to further describe each item.

Create categories within your MDB

  1. Click the Add category button.
  2. Give the category a name and define the attributes you want to be associated with it.
  3. Click Save and you are ready to add items.

Insert the first item

Once you have created a Category, you can start adding your items.

Create an item in your MDB

  1. Click the Add Item button.
  2. Give your item a name and fill in the attribute fields.
  3. Click Save and you are done.

Upload existing inventory lists

To ensure an error free import, your Excel inventory file has to be pre-formatted, so that the Excel-to-MDB import functionality can match inventory items from the Excel worksheet to a corresponding MDB category.

For a comprehensive list of formatting options please refer to our in-depth Helpdesk article.

  • Include a header row in your file! During the import process, column headers of the Excel file will match to the category’s attributes in the Labfolder Material Database. Where needed, you can manually map your column headers to attributes.

Upgrade your Templates
 

Once you have created a Category, you can start adding your items.

Create an item in your MDB

  1. Click the Import from Excel button.
  2. Select the file you wish to import
  3. Choose the appropriate worksheet and match existing column from the Excel to category attributes.
  4. Click upload and you will now be able to view and edit the inventory items.

Adjust access rights

Each laboratory has a set of common stocks that are shared between multiple people. By using Labfolder’s MDB you can also select who from your lab, group or team you wish to share the inventory with and further specify the extent of the access rights. Labfolder distinguished between 3 different roles:

  • Owner: Is able to view, create, edit, and delete the category and every item inside.
  • Editor: Is able to view, create, edit, and delete items inside a category.
  • Viewer: Is able to view items inside a category.

 
Decide who you want to share your MDB with

  1. In your category, click the Options icon in the top right hand corner.
  2. Choose to manage the category permissions.
  3. Select the team members you want to share with.
  4. Click Save and they will now be able to view and edit the database.

Export your inventory

Using Labfolder’s Material Database you can export each inventory list, for it to be stored as an Excel spreadsheet for your own records. This provides an overview of the stocks you had in your laboratory at that particular time.

 
Decide who you want to share your MDB with

  1. In your category, click the Options icon in the top right hand corner.
  2. Choose Export category.
  3. After confirmation, the export file will automatically start.

Connect your ELN and MDB

Naturally, in research you want to link certain experiments to a specific antibody or other inventory items that you used. You can use Material Elements to create the connection between your electronic lab notes and the Material Database.

Upload an item in your MDB into your Data Elements

  1. In your Notebook, 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.

Use the Material Element

When you reference something from your material database, a hyperlink to the MDB is created.

Connecting your MDB to DE

Change availability

All your reagents in the lab have a life cycle that goes from ordered to available to out of stock. These exact same statuses can be applied to your items in the MDB, so from your Labfolder ELN you will always know if the specific antibody you need is in stock or if someone else finished it.

In order to let people know that a reagent ran out, simply follow these steps:

Change the status of your MDB items

  1. Go to Manage > Material Database.
  2. Select the Category and the specific Item you want to edit.
  3. Click Edit and select the status from a drop down menu.
  4. Press Save.

 

Loss managment iconTIP: You can also use these steps to update any information regarding your item.

Update your templates

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

Upgrade your Templates

Versioning

All changes made to the items in your MDB are recorded. Although you will not have a visible history or audit trail, you can be sure that the changes are documented. This becomes obvious when you are using Material Elements: The created hyperlink is versioned, which means that it will always refer to the original MDB entry. But when the inventory gets updates, 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

 

Next: How to ensure data integrity and Security with Labfolder