In yet another blog based on the search terms people used to find my blog, today I’m writing about “eln labware lims.” When I see this search, two separate thoughts come to mind: The person was looking to link an ELN with their LabWare LIMS; or, the person was interested in finding more information on the ELN features being provided by the LabWare LIMS.
Trends in LIMS and ELN
There are two schools of thought on how to provide ELN and LIMS capabilities into one laboratory. One model is the one that Thermo is following, where each product is specific to its task. They have a variety of LIMS that are built for a specific purpose and a partnership with Symyx to provide ELN features. This is all combined with a specific integration strategy.
The other school of thought is to extend products to add features. As such, we see LIMS products such as LabWare LIMS, StarLIMS and SQL*LIMS providing some variety of ELN features in order to stretch the LIMS to also do some of the ELN’s work. We also see ELN vendors such as IDBS and VelQuest providing LIMS-type features with their ELNs to stretch those products yet further.
However, it is still possible to have a different ELN and LIMS product even when talking about these “combination” products. As such, if the person who searched for “eln labware lims” is intending to implement an entirely separate ELN solution to integrate with their LabWare LIMS, this might be a good idea, depending on their approach and their needs.
What is Right for You
Although each strategy and/or product sounds like the one that will solve every problem, none of them is right for every situation. In fact, a single LIMS product cannot fulfill every LIMS need nor is every ELN product right for every lab notebook situation.
For example, an ELN meant for discovery work is not the same as the ones meant to enforce method execution. A LIMS targeted toward Drug Metabolism looks much different than one targeted toward Environmental solutions.
If you secretly feel befuddled regarding what direction to take regarding buying these products. Here’s my advice: ignore the labels. Forget that they’re called “LIMS” or “ELN” or whatever label they are given. Determine what you need and look for that. If you find something that meets your needs, whatever it is called, that is the right product and strategy for you.