Are you a Labguru

Dec 08 2011 Published by under Database, LIMS, Review

As we move to a much more technology based research infrastructure I am seeing plenty of people dumping the good old hardbound laboratory notebooks for electronic notebooks. Instead of paper based archives of samples, freezer storage, and to do list, we are slowly gravitating to works database systems, excel spreadsheets, or FileMaker Pro databases. At some point why not combine these databases with your data storage in addition to your research and literature notes that some research groups are stashing in individual lab wikis. Why not use an all encompassing system to house your entire electronic research infrastructure including your data, literature searches, sample storage locations, and supply inventory in lieu of being spread across the technological four corners of the Earth?

This is what Labguru can do for you. Labguru is a project management browser-based software commonly referred to as “software as a service” that safely and securely stores your data in the cloud. The fine folks at BioData, makers of BioKm software, gave me a free trial to play around with their system for a little while. I have to say that I’m quite impressed with it, especially since I have been quietly shopping and testing electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) systems for our lab, and this is as fine of one as there is on the market. And I’m being honest about this; I’m running a free trial, which I will terminate after this post, is published.

Labguru would be an ideal piece of software for new PI’s that are starting up their labs or ones that have to manage a horde of undergraduates. Labguru allows you to set the tone as far as the way you record and report your research which is invaluable when you have a slew of transients passing through the doors of your lab. You don’t need to be trying to decipher data from the arcane shorthand of an undergrad from two summers ago that fell off the face of the earth once they left your lab. Instead, drill down into their annotated your way project files and open up the excel file and snag the data you need.

I’m still working my way through the software but find it very interesting if you are in the market for this type of software. It is not without fault, I have found a few minor issues that I have communicated to BioData but I think they can iron out these before they roll out the software. Also they are receptive to suggestions so why not kick the tires on the thing and if you find something you don’t like, let them know so they can get to work on it. The cost of Labguru isn’t too bad considering how much you can do with it and the fact that it is a software as a service, you don’t have to worry about all the data clogging up your computer’s hard drive.  So take the tour and see if you like it.

Labguru - Tour from BioData Ltd on Vimeo.

Note: This is an unpaid and unsolicited review. I have received no compensation for this, even refused the free T-shirt. If you would like me to review your products let me know and I would be happy to.

12 responses so far

  • safely and securely stores your data in the cloud

    What is the evidence that your data is "safe and secure"? What happens to your data if this company goes belly up? It'll be a cold day in hell before I'd trust a for-profit corporation to store the only copies of data from my lab.

    • 256 bit encryption, you can set pretty tight password security too. I'm asking BioData if you can lock down access by MAC addresses. In addition I'm checking with them about an onsite backup and exporting data from Labguru (maybe as a PDF)?

  • Bashir says:

    Data storage is the one thing I might not be able to use it for. Perhaps some analysis spreadsheets, but the raw data is often very large and sensitive.

    I'd be interested in trying it out though.

  • scicurious says:

    Looks interesting. Might have to try it. As it is I make my undergraduates type up EVERYTHING before they leave the lab. I have a reputation as a meanie. 🙂

  • sciencegirl says:

    My lab is in the process of trying out Lablife. It is free, has a really nice database setup for various reagents (antibodies, plasmids, oligos etc) Has a shopping list section that allows requesting, ordering, and receiving updates and stores purchases in your inventory, does automatic pubmed searches etc. I am impressed with it so far for general lab database purposes and streamlining ordering. It does allow individual databases to be printed as PDFs.

  • Danny Klein says:

    I would like to address some of the comments above:
    a. Lablife is indeed a great service, however for being able to sustain a business, you need a solid business plan, which a free service cannot provide. This is the reason why the Lablife service was heading towards a shut down. Last September, Biodata has acquired the Lablife service. This service will remain free as it was until that point for at least 2 years. More about that may be found in our press release from last September at http://www.labguru.com/company/press/biodata-acquires-lablife/. For any additional info you may approach us at lablife@biodata.com.
    b. To those who are concerned about the future of Biodata - Biodata is backed by Digital Science (http://www.digital-science.com), the technological arm of Macmillan Publishers and a sister company to Nature. This backing removes the uncertainty from the future of the company.
    c. Data security - communication between the users' computers and our servers are encrypted in bank level security; data is backed up daily. Additionally, you may initiate a daily dump of all data to a local storage. Biodata serves thousands of scientists worldwide for more than 4.5 years, and has never lost customer's data.

    We are confident that with using Labguru, you can better plan and track your research, enabling you to achieve more results and do more science.

    Danny Klein, Co-CEO
    Biodata Ltd.

  • For some reason, I read that as a cross between a labrador and a Subaru

  • Adam says:

    Hi Genomic Repairman,

    I came across your blog while looking up providers in the lab-management space and I saw your review for labguru.

    I am a co-founder of Quartzy (http://www.quartzy.com) and I would like to take you up on your offer to review our software.

    When I was in grad school my lab used white-boards for orders and excel sheets for emails and we wasted a lot of time looking for things in the lab or orders-emails often fell through the cracks.

    Quartzy solves this problem. Quartzy is online software that helps labs organize their inventories, orders, and facilities. Quartzy is free for scientists to use. We generate revenue by charging vendors for hosting their catalogs (www.quartzy.com/vendor) and from advertising.

    I enjoyed your write-up for labguru and would be happy to have your opinion on our software if you would like to review the product.

    Thanks!

    best wishes,
    Adam
    Quartzy

  • Isa says:

    Hi everybody,

    I read all your comments about lab management and I would like to propose you a free sotware that could be complementary to a lab management software.
    Our software, Andrew Assistant, is made to our software used to design experiments.

    You can download our software for free (a registration is needed that's all), use it and test it. This software allows you to calculate all your concentrations, the minimal volume needed in your experiments, all the concentrations in your serial dilution points...

    This software can be used for manual pipetting or with Andrew, a compact robot using manual pipettes (P2 to P1000).
    If you want to know more, visit our website http://www.andrewalliance.com and download our software on http://www.andrewalliance.com/free-pipetting-biology-protocol-design-with-andrew-assistant/

    Best,

    Isabelle

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