11.04 How can I migrate or import data into LabArchives?

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Some users ask for advice as they migrate from some other system (OneNote, Evernote, another ELN, a network drive, paper notebooks, etc.) to LabArchives. This can be difficult if we are unfamiliar with the platform that they previously used.  

How to Migrate or Import data to LabArchives 

1. Investigate the Export options available with your current system

Some tools provide a variety of export formats like PDF, HTML, TXT, CSV, or Office documents. Other tools provide more limited export options, like printing the data, or it may export to a proprietary format. You may be able to export all of the information at once or it may require you to export individual projects, pages, protocols, or entries. 

If you currently use paper lab notebooks consider taking photos or scans of important work. To learn more about Optical character recognition and working with handwritten notes, Click Here. 

Note: Consult the guidance documentation, or support team for the software that you use for information on exporting your data. You may want to test a few different options for exporting this data. 

    • Make sure that the data from the old system is properly archived in a way that you will still be able to access the data. 
    • Some important information like timestamps, file names, or previous versions may not be included in the export. 
    • The export formats may be read-only. 

2.Prioritize the data that must be in LabArchives 

If you have used a previous system for a long time, there may be a lot of data in this system. Exporting data or importing can be a manual process, may take a long time, and may be labor-intensive. In general, we recommend moving data towards LabArchives over a period rather than uploading all data at once. 

You want to find the most efficient way to migrate to LabArchives. Below are a few policies that other teams have used. 

      • Set a launch date: Your team can set a specific date that you will start using LabArchives. If you find that you need a specific file or protocol from the old system, this data can be brought in as you need it. This is a great way to get started with LabArchives quickly. 
      • Prioritize specific projects or grants: It may be important for your team to migrate active projects to LabArchives while older or inactive projects are a lower priority. Also, some data may be easier to transition to LabArchives, and prioritizing this information is an efficient way to get started with LabArchives. 
      • Start with New Projects, or samples: If you are starting a new project, grant, sample, or publication, it is a great opportunity to document this work in LabArchives. 
      • Start with New Team members: If you have a new employee or new researcher joining your team, it’s a great opportunity to have this person start their work in LabArchives. This person would be able to have their notebooks setup, and this can make it easier when other team members join. 

3. Setup a notebook structure

While migrating data to LabArchives, you may want to organize the information in a standard notebook structure. You can follow the same structure that was used outside of LabArchives or you can add all previous data to a designated “Archival” notebook or folder. To learn more about adding folders and organizing a notebook Click Here.

4. Add information to LabArchives

Upload Attachments 

You can upload attachments to LabArchives of any file type. You can upload attachments to a page by selecting “Attachment” on the add entry toolbar or drag and drop. To learn more about attachments Click Here.

If you are working with a lot of locally stored files, you may want to upload these files using the downloaded application called Folder Monitor. For more information on folder monitor Click Here.

Link to Data stored outside of LabArchives 

In some cases, it may be convenient to store the data on a network drive, server, or a cloud-based system like Box or OneDrive. If this data is stored outside of LabArchives, you may want to provide a reference or link to this data. 

Keep in mind, if the data is stored outside of LabArchives, you will want to make sure that these links will work for a long time. It’s recommended that you include descriptions of the data like file type, file name, or file path in your lab notebook. If the data stored outside of LabArchives is renamed, moved, or deleted, you will want to have enough information in the lab notebook to find that data in the future. 

For more information on linking Click Here.

Copy and Paste information that should appear directly on the page of the notebook 

In some cases, you may want to have a key project or protocol appear as a rich text entry on a page of the notebook. To set this up, you would need to copy and paste this information into a rich text entry. This is only recommended for information that is accessed frequently. If the source of the data has complex formatting, you may need to paste the information without formatting or reformat the entry in LabArchives. To learn more about rich text entries, Click Here.