Computerized lab notebook?

Bill Maniatty maniattb at
Tue Jan 12 13:59:15 EST 1993

In article <1993Jan10.193926.4720 at>, cvl at (Craig V Lewis) writes:
|> I strongly recommend against the use of a computer as your sole data record!!
|> They are far too sensitive to several hazards; magnetic fields, physical
|> shock, liquid spills, and software viruses may all eliminate data
|> irretrievably.  There exist commercial programs capable of wiping data
|> from hard disks so completely that they meet government security standards.
|> Just imagine spilling a critical sample into your computer immediately
|> after analysis.  The sample is gone and the data are gone;  you will have to 
|> repeat the experiment, wasting valuable time.  Now try the same trick on
|> your paper lab notebook; any reasonably well chosen ink will not run 
|> significantly and you spend 5 minutes with a hairdryer to resurrect your
|> data.

[Stuff Deleted]
I worked as a programmer for 5 years, and Craig Lewis makes many good points.

For Physical protection, you might want to consider renting a bank deposit box,
and keeping critical backups there.  Usually your data is your biggest asset.
(It is cheap, and relatively safe from hazard).  It is important to alternate
backups (don't overwrite the latest backup!), otherwise you could have a
problem creating the backup and lose both your current data and your most
recent backup.

It is also important to have access to a second computer, so that if your
computer breaks, that your work is not stopped.

If you require political/legal protection (recording dates of scientific
discovery, etc) printed copy is probably a good bet, but consult your
lawyer or superiors, you might be able to use a removable media backup.
(If the amount of data is small, a printout is easy, if you have large
amounts of data, a backup might be easier).

Bill Maniatty
|	maniattb at - in real life Bill Maniatty

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