In the moreTea project we looked at how semantic web and pervasive computing technologies can be used in laboratory environments for designing and executing experiments in a structured, repeatable and verifiable way. Our work focused on how semantic Electronic Lab Notebook technology can be made robust, secure and manageable. This is needed to allow deployment in industrial organisations such as pharmaceuticals that have stringent compliance regulations as well as operation across organisational boundaries in academic research scenarios where distributed teams of scientists need access to shared repositories.
The system provides a web-based interface that allows an experimenter to define experimental plans, in a form designed to support COSHH (Control of Substance Hazardous to Health) assessment of health and safety aspects. A tablet PC interface (the ELN) allows the experimenter to record information about the experiment during its execution. Pervasive data capture facilities allow automatic acquisition of data from experimental apparatus or from companion computational analysis workflows. The resulting experimental data is stored in a secure and centralised repository that includes a semantic query facility to allow the search and navigation of the experiments and the semantic relationships between them.
The moreTea project was supported by EPSRC under grant number EP/E502997/1.