Timestamping lab data?

WS via methods%40net.bio.net (by novalidaddress from nurfuerspam.de)
Tue Feb 23 16:54:54 EST 2010

Dear Colleagues,

Can you recommend a simple and cheap way to "time stamp" files?

I found that commercial labnotebook programs are either quite
expensive or not easy to adapt to: I don't want to change my workflow
and inflate it with tedious procedures to upload each file I am
working with (and changing it every now and then) to an internal
server and then even find out that the current project cannot hold
more files and/or data.

In my daily lab life, I obtain data in files from different machines
(like photometers, protein chromatography system, online
publications / web material printed into pdfs, fotos and so on.
Although I am still keeping a written journal for important
experiments, a lot of my work is electronically recorded and
described. Usually, all files related to a project are kept in a
structure of subdirectories, so it's easy to pack them a project into
an archive (eg (g)zip) for backup purposes and of course to finalize

I wonder if there is a way to "envelope" such an archive with a
timestamp that is commonly (ideally lawyer- and court-proof)
recognized as valid. So it should not depend on my local computer
networks' internal clocks, but rely on a public non-fakeable
timeserver. Usually, I have a Linux (OpenSuse11.x) environment for my
work, but the ideal solution also should work with windows.

Any suggestions?

Many thanks,


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