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April 02, 2008


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Phil Keyes

In our particular case at, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, we do actually take a dual approach to the electronic data availability issue. For high level overview purposes, we capture the PDF. The PDF however is the accessory data that only became available after we went to all the trouble to electronically reference our NMR data in a database for all of our instruments. The type of data you access depends on whether you are logged into our Analytical LIMS or our compound registration database. This is dependent on what you are doing with the data. A PDF of a spectrum generally is much faster opening than the actual full electronic spectrum that is reprocessable. If you just want to view the data a look at it for a few seconds why bother to wait the 10 to 30 seconds (or more if its 2D) to open it if all you want to do is glance it over for historical reference or other purposes. On the other hand, if you need to work up the data for a publication or patent filing, or for general examination/elucidation, then you need the full power of a reprocessing tool. Neither PDF or processor solution alone will meet both needs, and of course PDF viewers are free and processor licenses are ... not.

Of course, we are still providing paper output for the "2 second" glance. No need to login and search on criteria to get your spectrum. This is the activation energy barrier that needs to be overcome. A great way (but of course expensive) to do this would be to provide each chemist with a tablet or notebook/laptop PC at their hood. I think this is also what is essential to make ELN's really work too, so if you already have this in place, then the ability, as an organization to eleminate the printout of paper becomes stronger since you now reduce the intervening step of walking from your fume hood/work bench back to an analytical lab to pick up your LCMS or NMR data.

AS far as electronic assignment, this is being done more and more now, and as it is essential to improving our built in automated NMR verification through perdiction DB training, it is now being reinforced by rewarding us with improved results while simultaneously allowing us to build DB's of assignments. AS we continue beyond 600 automated verifications for our registration compounds through open access HSQC NMR data, this continues to influence our direction. Tight integration of all these components and workflows begin to bring us closer to the realization of "less paper" ... but not paperless.



For those afraid of computers or so attached to pen and paper they can't change to an all electronic lab notebook, there is a review on a magic pen that gives you the Onenote benefits (organization, searchability,...) while still letting you doodle away with paper and pen.


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