Findings is a Mac electronic lab notebook designed for scientists that aims to replace the paper lab notebook still in use in most research labs. I did have a look at Findings when it came out but it did not seem well suited to a chemist so I thought I’d wait and see what the reaction was from other disciplines. Findings app has very distinguished roots, it was founded by Alexander Griekspoor (author of the Apple design award winning Papers and EnzymeX) and Charles Parnot (of Xgrid@Stanford fame), an ex-scientist metamorphosed into a software developer.
A reader sent me this initial view of Findings and I thought I’d share it since it nicely showcases the application:
Findings ambition is simple: making your computer THE tool to run experiments and keep lab records so that results can later be reproduced, assembled and published effortlessly. Findings is a good fit for “academic” research, where new assays and new types of experiments are designed and used every day, and where flexibility is key.
The program is organised in Projects and Experiments. Each experiment can be assigned to a specific project and can be defined as an ongoing or completed experiment, creating a very clean and structured set-up. Findings app allows for a methodological standardisation on the way data is collected and how experiments and projects are organised. Every single experiment will stand on its own, including all the necessary data to replicate the experiment. In the near future it will be possible to bundle repeat experiments, making the organisation of a project even nicer and easier to access.
Protocols are at the core of any experiment and therefore there is a dedicated section for them: the protocol library. Some typical protocols in Biological Sciences can already be found in this section and the user can, in a very easy and intuitive way, create and add new protocols. Within an experiment it is possible to switch to the protocol-selection view and drag and drop a protocol to the ongoing experiment. When a protocol runs for more than one day the steps are divided per day but the protocol is kept as a whole within the calendar view allowing for a better overview of your experiments throughout the week. While in the calendar selection view, the user can edit the steps of a protocol and shift dates around if necessary.
The text editor view allows for editing the experimental plan in detail but also for keeping track of the current state by checking off each step of a protocol once completed.
A very important feature that makes Findings such a complete lab notebook app is the possibility to integrate the results into the respective experiment by allowing import of data in different formats (such as graphs, images, texts, pdfs, etc…).
Whole experiments, including the results, can be exported as PDF files. Often it is compulsory to have a paper file on the lab and this way the user can have a well organised, complete and standardised lab notebook without any effort. In one of the coming updates, it will be possible for the user to share their experiments/protocols from within Findings via email and eventually Dropbox.
Apparently by the coming fall the Findings team aims to release version 1.1 of Findings for Mac with Dropbox sync, publish Findings on the Mac App Store, and add Findings for iOS 1.0 to mix as well.
Last updated 21 September 2014