Lab notebooks are the linchpin of any scientific endeavor, since they serve as proof for everything that an investigator has done (and as a personal reference for long-forgotten protocols). The standard is to use a bound notebook with handwritten (in pen!) notes, the idea being that these are more difficult to fake and easier to organize than, say, loose-leaf paper with pencil scribblings.
However, current biological research is done more and more by computer, and a lot of this stuff does not translate well to a hard-bound notebook. For instance, I’m regularly taking thousands of microscopy images (in a single day) for my projects, and printing all of these off would be tremendously stupid. The value of spreadsheets, scripts, plots, and all kinds of computer-generated data is in the fact they they are digital, so why try to convert them to an outdated medium?
So, I’ve been working on an electronic notebook system that would be court-defensible, highly organized, and easy enough to use that the time requirements wouldn’t be much higher than that for a hardcopy notebook. Currently, this system consists of a handful of Python scripts for organizing and creating a LaTeX notebook, though my plan is to make the thing more cohesive and, eventually, usable (and maybe even useful) for slightly-computer-savvy biologists.
Once I clean it up a bit more, I’ll start posting code and ideas, but in the meantime here’s my problem:
I have been having a hell of a time coming up with a decent name for the project. Since it will eventually be public, I need something catchy. I’ve come up with some pretty lame stuff, too embarrassing to mention, such that until a flash of inspiration a few hours ago the best I had was “Slabnote”…
That light-bulb radiation was this: LabTeX.
Awesome, right? It’s pronounced “Lab tech”, so it’s hugely punny. HUGELY.
I was quite excited and so, of course, did a quick Google search which, to my immense displeasure, showed that a company with that very same name already exists. And it’s a Laboratory equipment company. Which means that my use of LabTeX could be considered trademark infringement. They are based in the UK though, so maybe I’m in the clear?
Anyway, if you are one of the 10 people reading this, please weigh in! I’m looking for both legal advice and punny names. For inspiration (for names, not law), here is a list of relevant keywords:
biology, science, lab, notebook, electronic, LaTeX, TeX, life, cell, molecule, gene, organizer, system