Now that I was so inspired by my attendance at WordCamp 2014, am now ready to find another LIMS group to create or join. I have to stop myself, there!

Now that I attended WordCamp 2014, am ready to be collaborative and share knowledge and information with others. With that in-mind, I started asking around about some of the existing groups that are out there. For example, there’s a LabWare LIMS discussion group in LinkedIn that I used to belong to, but which never seemed to be particularly active. I suddenly found myself asking people I know how that group is doing – whether it’s worth rejoining.

Unfortunately, most of these groups end up being rather inactive. I find myself joining them then, belonging to more groups than I can keep track of, eventually pruning out those that are truly inactive. Even if they weren’t inactive, the problem with being an expert in anything is that it’s harder to get your questions answered.

People who have questions such as “how to do I setup a user login” can easily get their questions answered. Those with the more esoteric questions, the questions that occur from working with the harder problems, those questions might not yet have been worked-through by anyone else. Even if they have, as one of the other consultants once pointed-out – there is no reason why one expert should help another person to create competition in their expertise – then they might not stay the expert, any longer. In LIMS and ELN, there are many areas where the person who can remain the expert and convince everyone that they are THE expert, remains busy longer than the one who can’t. I understand that.

Keeping that in-mind, maybe that is why our groups remain so inactive. Maybe too many people worked too hard to get to the top to share it with others. Maybe they realize that, if they do that, they’ll be thrown by the wayside and get less work. I don’t know the real answer to that.

What I do know is that I’ll probably never be truly cured of this idea that we can work collaboratively, but I really should try harder to get past that.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

4 Thoughts to “LabWare LIMS/ELN Groups”

  1. Hmmm, interesting. I never considered that sharing information could be a competitive disadvantage as you allude to. I guess it is possible but I don’t believe it. I find it easy to share information and to just try and help folks where I can. I regularly help promote the competition and share list of LIMS vendors with potential clients. It’s not like they can’t find this information so I figure I should be of help and who knows… maybe that in and of itself will give me an advantage.

    I truly wish more folks in the industry spent more time sharing information rather than sitting on the sidelines holding it back. I guess, where there is a void, it will be filled, so I don’t mind helping fill the information void.

    If you really want to share information, jump on to your old Linkedin group and just start sharing. Ask questions people have not thought to ask and then jump in and ask others you know to help answer the questions. It really builds great discussions. I know this from experience and the proof is my own group. The group I created has over 60,000 members and hundreds of discussions with literally thousands of comments. Sharing knowledge is a regular event and it is even helping to build out our LIMSwiki which is loaded to the gills with shared and cited information. I really think our community for LIMS already exists and is growing by leaps and bounds and is quite vibrant. Just jump in and share.

    Mind you, the groups I run are vendor independent and so they will not help anyone with a specific labware question or even a question about my own product at LabLynx but if you check out the discussions, you will find tons of great information sharing that does not depend on any specific product.

    1. Well, there’s the rub – it’s often the product-specific things I’d like to publicly discuss. For example, if I want to talk to someone about how to do something specific in the LabWare ELN, I have to contact people I know that I think are working on it, pose my question, see who is comfortable answering.

      On one hand, most of the people I would ask questions of are experts of one kind of another and most likely to know the answer. On the other hand, it would be nice if those of us who are experts in these things could easily group together to help each other out without sending a whole lot of e-mails, but I think this works better when people know each other than on huge lists, probably – people are more likely to respond when they know each other and/or you ask them, directly. So, probably asking to a large group wouldn’t get me any faster/better answers, as so many people are strangers on them.

      And, I’m no longer interested in being in the business of driving the groups with good discussion questions – that’s a lot of work and too few people want to do it. It would work great it a handful of people would take their hand at it, but I’m not spending my time on that, any longer when others aren’t willing to.

  2. All of that makes lots of sense. With respect to any specific lims like labware, even they do not have a sufficient number of clients to make up a sufficient size community to accomplish what you want. You really have to have a community of 10’s of thousands, if not well over 100K to get any meaningful involvement. Look at most anything that is social in nature, like politics, local government, etc. Usually things are in the hands of a small group of concerned and engaged citizens and the rest of the folks are just along for the ride.

    Considering how small the labware community is relative to the entire lab informatics space, I doubt you will ever see anything of significance when it comes to collaboration. Size does matter when it comes to building a vibrant community.

    1. Also, in my previous post, I was talking about the WordPress community and I think it’s not quite a fair comparison to discuss that event versus the events we might have here in our own industry. For one, when something is open source, the idea generally would be to have lots of collaboration, although that is not true 100% of the time. Those communities tend to be built on that concept and depend on it, where commercial products tend to have a different model.

      Once again, those are generalizations, but I thought I’d point-out that I’m talking about apples and oranges a bit, here.

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