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When Will the Paper Notebook Become a Dodo?

Posted by Dominic.John on Nov 16, 2011 12:33:27 PM

When the whole world is going electronic why are many of us still using paper notebooks? Really! When electronic phones came along we jumped from Bakerlite analogue phones to digital in a decade, when mobile phones came along it took another decade, and likewise when smart phones came around it took a decade to move. ELNs have now been in use for over 10 years. So why hasn’t the paper notebook gone the way of the Dodo?


When you look at the reality of paper notebooks I find it surprising that only 154K scientists of the one to two billion scientists globally today have an ELN and the growth is only 25% per year. After all, paper notebooks can’t be shared easily, impossible to search, slow to complete and are an incredibly inefficient scrapbooking exercises. Like the bakerlite phone and the dodo it’s only a matter of time before the extinction of paper.

  paper science.jpg

So what’s holding up the rest of the scientific community? Is it just education about ELNs? Is it fear of change to electronic? Is it that we don’t feel the right ELN is available to support our science? Is it that scientist’s feel they don’t have the resources to deploy, manage and pay for an ELN? Or do people feel there is little value in swapping out paper? If it is any of the above I’d argue that these points are moot now.


Industry reports from Atrium Research in 2011 show an instant 20% accepted productivity gain over paper processes. Today in 60 seconds you can own and be entering data in an ELN whether it’s a Mac or PC. There’s no installation, no hardware, no IT resources and little training required. Every type of scientists and industry is adopting an ELN and being successful with communities from five to thousands of users. ELNs are also being deployed across the enterprise to deliver scientific productivity for every kind of scientist.


Help us out. Why aren’t you moving if you haven't already? How can the ELN software vendors make the paper notebook at your lab a dodo?

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