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 form of a Material Database (MDB).

labfolder’s MDB is a highly customizable tool: You can create as many MDB’s with 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 MDB structure:

  • Antibodies (MDB)
    • 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 Material Database

Create your first MDB

Once in the Material Database view, you can see that an Individual Inventory is already available. In this guide, we will replicate the previously mentioned structure for our antibodies list. Let’s start by changing the name of the MDB:

Change the name of your MDB

  1. Go to Manage > Material Database.
  2. Click on the pencil icon next to individual inventory to change the name of your MDB in the cell.
  3. Press the Save icon.
  4. To create multiple databases, simply click the +Add button and select Material Database.

Add categories with attributes

Within your MDB, you are able to create as many categories as needed. This helps you to organize your inventory and assign attributes to each category.

Create categories within your MDB

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

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.

Share settings

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.

Decide who you want to share your MDB with

  1. In your Material Database, click the Share MDB icon next to the title.
  2. Select the team members you want to share with.
  3. Click Save and they will now be able to view and edit the database.

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

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


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