We spoke with Rebecca Rich at Brewer Science Inc. to better understand why the organization decided to look for an electronic lab notebook (ELN), how they chose LabArchives and what their next steps will look like now that they’re moving towards digital documentation.

For those who aren’t familiar with the field, what does Brewer Science do when it comes to materials and manufacturing science?

Brewer Science develops and manufactures next-generation materials and processes that foster the technology needed for tomorrow. Our technology portfolio includes materials and processes for advanced lithography, advanced packaging, and printed electronics to enable cutting-edge microdevices and unique monitoring systems for industrial, environmental and air applications. Generally speaking, the bulk of our business is providing materials that other companies then use to make and package microchips, integrated circuits and similar systems.

What prompted Brewer Science to look for an ELN?

Brewer Science wanted to move away from paper lab notebooks to electronic data storage, to prevent data loss, to more accurately document inventions and development, and to more easily search and share research. We initially started with an in-house solution, which was a step in the right direction, but was not very user-friendly, and as a result, has not been as well-used as it should have been. We re-started our search last year to find a third-party solution with good offerings and support.

How did Brewer Science choose LabArchives?

Brewer Science investigated a number of electronic lab notebook options, and narrowed it down to three primary contenders. LabArchives demonstrated good customer support, an intuitive interface and was a cost-effective option that we could start using without excessive customization. 

What are your constituents’ thoughts and opinions on integrating this solution into what Brewer Science already does?

We had many stakeholders test LabArchives prior to making our decision. Our researchers were excited about its ability to allow them to better record, reference, and share their research. Our intellectual property and legal personnel were happy with the ability to easily view and audit compliance with recording and witnessing.

What do your roll out plans look like? Now that you have the tool how will you get it into the hands of your constituents and get them actively using it?

Our first step is to establish a file structure and methodology for naming experiments and samples. After that, we will be creating documentation and training some “superusers” and then our first group of users. We will likely have ongoing training both from LabArchives and internally to make sure our users have an opportunity to ask questions and get some tips and best practices for use. With the ability to easily audit use, we should be able to pinpoint groups that need extra help or encouragement. We have also identified other groups in the company to include in a second phase once we have gotten the hang of things.

How are you approaching the onboarding process?

We want to make sure that we provide plenty of information and guidance to users to allow them to utilize LabArchives from the start. We know that this will be a step up from our previous electronic lab notebook solution, so we are excited about the additional usability, and hopefully, additional usage.