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Overview of MyLabBook

What is MyLabBook?

MyLabBook is an approach to building an open source Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) or research platform that is SAFE (Sustainable, Affordable, Flexible, and relatively Easy to install, customize, and maintain). The MyLabBook WordPress edition has the following main components.

Example of using WordPress and the Directories Pro plugin to display soil sample data

WordPress CMS

The WordPress Content Management System (CMS) provides the free and open source software on which to build a web platform. WordPress is well known for its ease of installation and its ease of extension through the use of plugins. Because of its popularity (running over 40% of the websites across the globe), it has an extensive ecosystem that provides documentation, consulting services, inexpensive hosting, and very capable plugin extensions. WordPress provides the qualities of Sustainability, Affordability, Flexibility, and Easiness to make up the SAFE acronym. 

WordPress Plugins

There are over 50,000 free and open source plugins on the WordPress site and many other commercial plugins from different sources. We tried several of these plugins when trying to set up an ELN for our ESRM research project. We found that the Directories Pro plugin actually provided most everything that we needed for an effective ELN. The plugin includes robust tools for data collection, backup, and display. It effectively provided a GUI for Custom Post Types for our data along with other features for data maintenance. Note that we do not have any affiliation with the vendor and receive no benefits from its endorsement. And no doubt there are other approaches that can be as effective, depending on the needs of a given project. But in the interest of simplicity and in having a more complete set of instructions for an ELN, we focus at this time primarily on the use of the Directories Pro plugin for an ELN in our Knowledge Base. In the Knowledge Base we also offer some considerations for other possible plugins for additional features (e.g., security, backup, social networking).