DOW CHEMICAL JOINS GLOBAL CONSORTIUM ON ELECTRONIC LAB NOTEBOOKS

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Wed Aug 7 23:31:29 EST 1996


This is significant news for all scientific laboratory workers who use 
notebooks and software systems.

Please forward this on to interested parties in your organization.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (8/6/96)

Contact: Rich Lysakowski, Ph.D., Executive Director
The Collaborative Electronic Lab Notebooks Consortium

phone:   508-443-4771
fax:        508-440-9798

(PLEASE DO NOT "REPLY" TO THIS MESSAGE.  IF YOU ARE SERIOUSLY
INTERESTED IN MORE INFORMATION, THEN PLEASE SEND E-MAIL
TO:  lysakowski at aol.com )
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             DOW CHEMICAL JOINS GLOBAL CONSORTIUM 
                    ON ELECTRONIC LAB NOTEBOOKS

                       DOW CHEMICAL HELPS DRIVE 
           COLLABORATIVE ELECTRONIC LAB NOTEBOOKS 
           TO MARKET IN VENDOR-NEUTRAL CONSORTIUM

BOSTON, MA--The Dow Chemical Company has joined the Collaborative 
Electronic Lab Notebooks Consortium.  This Consortium of large industrial 
companies is driving the creation of software systems for electronic lab 
notebooks and R&D team project data management and collaboration systems 
for the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech, food and beverage, oil and gas, 
and related chemical-based industries.   Dow is the fifth Fortune 300 company

to join the partnership, along with Air Products and Chemicals and three 
as yet undisclosed pharmaceutical companies. 

"Scientists have long needed electronic notebooks as a way to minimize the 
tedium of lab work.  Currently, researchers spend many hours per week 
writing, transcribing, cutting and pasting and otherwise transferring data 
in paper notebooks to record their work." observes Dr. Rich Lysakowski, the 
Consortium’s Executive Director.   He continues "Yet, paper notebooks are 
just one part of a much larger system for managing records, data and 
documents in R&D projects.  The paper chase and tedious bottlenecks in 
productivity must be minimized.  In their current paper form, notebooks 
are very time-consuming to use and costly to manage -- they lock up key 
information needed to speed up projects."  Dr. Lysakowski says further that 
"Scientists really require very flexible, open and interoperable software 
tools that integrate electronic lab recordkeeping, project data management, 
and collaboration processes.  This user-driven Consortium is coordinating 
the efforts of major R&D organizations through an open process that ensures 
emerging products fit end users’ needs well."

Barbara Sutter, Manager of R&D Proprietary Information and Corporate 
Information Technology at the Dow Chemical says  "The Consortium is a 
good deal for Dow because from the start we can specify, test and verify 
that vendors are building what we need -- the result is that our needs get 
met better, for less money.  Our computer users are asking for better tools 
to enable them to collaborate globally, and be more productive by 
eliminating redundant and inefficient paper processes."  Barb adds "The 
Consortium has an open software architecture and open business practices 
that lets us to pick our infrastructure and scientific toolkits ourselves, 
and integrate them more easily than before.  The Consortium’s shared vision 
is consistent with Dow’s computer strategy.  Simply put, it provides us with 
the best leverage for our money."

The two-year Collaborative Electronic Notebooks Consortium is now recruiting 
additional members, up to a maximum of 15.  The Consortium Members are 
defining and funding the development of commercially-supported electronic 
notebooks that capture, store and manage electronic records within existing 
systems for groupware, document management, the World Wide Web, and other 
systems used in scientific laboratories.  The software will permanently
record 
and archive all common types of data from analytical, organic, biochemical, 
genetic, toxicology and other laboratories, including instrument spectra, 
chemical structures, documents, spreadsheets, DNA and protein structures, 
and other data.   

At the close of the two-year Consortium, full searching and sharing of all 
common types of notebook information will be possible from the commercially 
available products.  The notebook software clients will be have a modular 
architecture that include plug-ins that specialize notebooks for different 
types of labs and job functions.   

The Consortium is pulling together all necessary pieces, which exist now, 
and using them in the right combinations to satisfy the major requirements 
for both scientists and their support staff.   For example, the Consortium’s 
lab notebook software systems will allow chemical structures and spectra 
embedded in existing products to be referenced and easily used, including 
products such as CAS’ SciFinder, Beilstein’s CrossFire, MDL’s ISIS,
Daylight’s 
tools based on SMILES, Tripos, Oxford Molecular’s tools based on
CommsManager, 
Galactic Industries’ GRAM/3D, Hewlett Packard, Perkin Elmer, Beckman, and 
many others.  Scientists typically use more than one chemical structure 
handling product and must access specific subsets of the 50+ million
compounds 
in databases spanning several of the aforementioned vendors.  Scientists also
typically use many different instrument and spectral data systems.
 Analytical 
instrument data systems and LIMS are other classes of software that will 
eventually be integrated into the collaborative electronic notebook systems.

The Consortium has already started defining practical standards, benchmarks 
and best practices for procedures that meet all the major legal and
regulatory 
requirements for open systems that manage electronic records in accurate, 
trustworthy, reliable ways.

The Collaborative Electronic Lab Notebooks Consortium has been operational 
since December 1995.  It expects to deliver its first software and knowledge 
packages by early 1997.  Interested companies with a need for electronic 
notebooks and team project data management and collaboration systems for R&D 
and testing labs are invited to join the Consortium now.

Consortium Members receive large software discounts, determine system 
specifications and get early access to software.  Potential Members are 
encouraged to join before October 11, 1996, after which the membership rates 
will increase.

Qualified vendors of electronic lab notebooks, groupware, document and
workflow 
management, LIMS and instrument interfacing systems, scientific information 
databases, and integration tools will be awarded contracts to develop and 
support the Consortium software.

Companies interested in becoming Consortium Members should contact:

Dr. Rich Lysakowski, The Collaborative Electronic Notebooks Consortium, 
8 Pheasant Avenue, Sudbury, MA 01776.  E-mail: rich at teamscience.com, 
Tel: 508-443-4771.  Fax: 508-440-9798.

CONSORTIUM BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The electronic lab notebook systems and tools will come from several leading 
scientific software vendors selected by the Consortium.  Because lab data 
formats and applications are so specialized, varied, and constantly changing,

supporting all common scientific lab data types is beyond the scope of any 
one scientific software vendor.  For example, a medium-sized drug company in 
the consortium states that it must support over 400 different commercial 
applications every year in Research alone. 

Application and data integration is an almost insurmountable challenge for 
end users and support staff.  Other key Consortium deliverables include 
point-and-click application integration tools that encapsulate existing 
softwares, turning them into standard objects that easily plug into
electronic 
notebooks clients and servers.  These tools will allow Consortium Members to 
configure multivendor solutions at a fraction of current costs.

Scientific software markets comprised of niche vendors focused on LIMS, 
instrument data systems, chemical and biological information systems, and 
numerous data processing and reporting applications.  Niche vendors have 
failed to meet the legal, regulatory, and systems integration requirements 
to create successful electronic notebooks -- as evidenced by the failure of 
the ResearchStation product and Helix Systems, Inc. in 1995 and the
withdrawal 
from the market of the ForeFront Group, Inc.’s Virtual Notebook System in
1996.  
Organic and medicinal chemists working in combinatorial chemistry, 
high-throughput screening and other types of scientific labs have stated they

would like interfaces that give them equal access to each of these products 
from within the Consortium’s electronic notebook systems.  The systems must 
simultaneously serve and go beyond vertical market segments such as
chemistry, 
biology, and materials science.

Although chemical structures are important for many research labs, most needs

for electronic notebooks exist in labs where few if any chemical structures 
are used.  Companies in the consortium have learned the lesson that they 
cannot afford to replace their infrastructure with products from scientific 
niche vendors for something as important as the corporate intellectual 
property contained in their R&D records.  Most R&D companies have already 
committed their infrastructures to one or more general-purpose base platforms

for Web groupware, data, or document handling, such as Lotus’ Notes, 
Microsoft’s Exchange, NetScape WebServers, Documentum’s EDMS, Interleaf’s 
Intellect/BusinessWeb, Saros Mezzanine, Oracle and others.  This precludes 
companies from switching to vertical solutions from a single scientific 
software vendor.   The Consortium’s strategy is to leverage existing 
investments by building on top of and integrating such base platforms, 
which will be chosen within the next few months.  The tools logically must 
come from several software markets simultaneously. 

The World Wide Web, MS-Windows, and Macintosh computers are target operating 
systems for the electronic lab notebook and team project data management
systems.
_____________________________________________________________________________
The Dow Chemical Company is the largest US chemical company, operating 94 
manufacturing sites in 30 countries.  Headquartered in Midland, Michigan,
USA, 
Dow is diversified into basic commodity and specialty chemicals,
pharmaceuticals, 
polymers, solvents, agrochemicals, consumer products, and environmental
services. 

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. is one of the largest suppliers of
industrial 
gases and equipment worldwide.  Headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania,
USA, 
Air Products maintains a strong partnership with companies in delivering
gases 
for all applications, specialty and intermediate chemicals, and environmental

and energy systems. 

TeamScience, Inc. is the leading international market catalyst firm in
scientific 
software research, engineering, training, consulting and publishing.
 Headquartered 
in Sudbury, Massachusetts, USA, TeamScience focuses on consortia and
partnerships 
to deliver scientific applications of groupware, electronic notebooks and
records 
management systems, document management, LIMS, and instrument interfacing
systems.




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