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LabbookDB: A Wet-Work-Tracking Database Application Framework

Horea-Ioan Ioanas
Institute for Biomedical Engineering, ETH and University of Zurich

Bechara John Saab
Preclinical Laboratory for Translational Research into Affective Disorders, DPPP, Psychiatric Hospital, University of Zurich

Markus Rudin
Institute for Biomedical Engineering, ETH and University of Zurich



LabbookDB is a relational database application framework for life sciences—providing an extendable schema and functions to conveniently add and retrieve information, and generate summaries. The core concept of LabbookDB is that wet work metadata commonly tracked in lab books or spreadsheets is more efficiently and more reliably stored in a relational database, and more flexibly queried. We overcome the flexibility limitations of designed-for-analysis spreadsheets and databases by building our schema around atomized physical object interactions in the laboratory (and providing plotting- and/or analysis-ready dataframes as a compatibility layer). We keep our database schema more easily extendable and adaptable by using joined table inheritance to manage polymorphic objects and their relationships. LabbookDB thus provides a wet work metadata storage model excellently suited for explorative ex-post reporting and analysis, as well as a potential infrastructure for automated wet work tracking.


laboratory notebook, labbook, wet work, record keeping, internet of things, reports, life science, biology, neuroscience, behaviour, relational database, normalization, SQL



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