Lesson 5 of 8

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SciNote also includes inventory management functionalities and we are going to talk about them in this lesson.

You can create personalized inventories for various lab supplies, such as samples, reagents, cell lines, antibodies, plasmids, instruments, etc. These inventories are designed as customizable tables. You can edit the existing columns, add new ones and attach files e.g. safety and handling information documents.

In addition, you can connect the inventory items with your experiments to track what you used and when, and have an overview of inventory items’ history.

Inventory management

The inventories are shared and managed among the members of one specific team. As a free user you can manage up to 6 inventories and as a Premium user you can manage 15 inventories. You can have an unlimited number of items per each inventory.

Each inventory table has default columns that are pre-set but you can make them invisible and/or add custom columns to display additional information such as concentration or barcode. The default columns are the following: Assigned, ID (i.e. a unique identification number automatically generated by the software), Name, Added on, and Added by.

Default columns cannot be deleted but you can make them invisible. To toggle the visibility of any inventory column, click the Visibility button and select the column from a list by clicking the eye icon. When you see an icon showing a crossed eye, the column is invisible.

Besides managing columns’ visibility, you can reorder them as well. Simply grip the column with your mouse and move it to the left or right.

To create a new inventory, go to the main menu on the dashboard and open the Inventories tab. Click the +New inventory button, write the inventory name and click the green Create button.

After you create an inventory, you can add items to it. To manually add items one by one, click the green +New item button, type the item’s name into empty field and click the green Save button on the left.

Besides adding items manually, SciNote enables you to import an existing database of inventory items as well. You may upload comma separated, tab separated or Excel file.

To import a file of items to the inventory, click the Advanced button and select the Import items option from a drop-down menu. Choose a file from your computer and click the green Upload button. Then match the file columns with the table columns in SciNote, where the first row should include header names, followed by rows with inventory items’ data. Finish the action by clicking the green Import button.

Furthermore, items can be edited, deleted or copied. To perform these actions, simply check the box of a desired item in the first table column and click the Edit, Delete or Copy button above the inventory table.

You can also use the Filter function on the right to search and filter items throughout the entire inventory.  Filtering is also useful if you need to export information on certain inventory items.

If you would like to export inventory items, first check the boxes of desired items, click the Advanced button and select the Export items option from the drop-down menu.

Then confirm the action by clicking the green Export button and the list of inventory items will export in a .csv file format. You will receive an email with a link where you can download the file.

Custom inventory columns

As mentioned before, you can add new columns in the inventory table to display additional information of lab supplies such as a barcode, CAS number, LOT number, concentration, hazard class, manufacturer, etc.

To add new inventory columns, click the Advanced button and select the Manage columns option from a drop-down menu. Then click the green +New Column button, write the column name and select the Column type below. You can choose between three column types: Text, File or Dropdown.

Now, if you want to create a column bearing a text information such as reagent concentration, you select the Text column type. In case you want to add a file such as safety data sheet (SDS) document, you select the File column type. The last column type allows you to create a custom Dropdown with multiple options, so you can for example create a storage space column displaying different freezers as options in the dropdown menu. When you are finished, click the green Save button.

In addtion, you can make use of your barcode scanners in combination with SciNote inventory management. You can simply create a new text-type column called e.g. barcode, to which you can input (copy and paste from third-party software) the generated barcodes. Later on, if you would like to e.g. print out the sample information with barcodes from SciNote, you can export the data from the inventory.

Furthermore, once you create a custom column type, it cannot be changed, therefore, the only thing you can do is to delete it and create a new one. Know that if the column was added by you, only you and the Team administrators have a right to delete it.

Assigning inventory items to a task

After your inventories are organized, you can associate lab supplies with experiments and have an entire history of inventory items available. In other words, you can keep track of inventory items you are working with within the same experiment by assigning them to tasks.

If you click on one particular entry in the inventory table, the Item information window appears, where you are able to see when and by whom the item was added and to which projects, experiments and tasks is associated (i.e. assigned).

To assign an item from the inventory to a task, first go to an experiment and open a specific task. Then click the INVENTORIES tab on the right and select an inventory from a drop-down list. Continue with switching the current display of inventory items by clicking the View All Items button. After that, simply select one or more items and click the Assign button.

A new window appears, where you decide to assign the selected item(s) on this particular task, by clicking the green Task button. In case you wish to assign the item(s) from this task forward to the rest of the tasks in the workflow, click the green Task & Downstream button.

Also, you can decide to unassign already assigned inventory items from the task by selecting them and clicking the Unassign button.

To see which inventory items are associated with a specific task, click the View Assigned Items button. Furthermore, all assigned items have a blue circle displayed under the Assigned table column.


Practice

  1. Log into your SciNote account or shared SciNote Premium site that has a unique URL link (i.e. companyname.scinote.net).
  2. Create an inventory and name it (e.g. Reagents).
  3. Create all three custom columns with different column types (e.g. Concentration, SDS document, and Storage place).
  4. Manually add an item and copy it (e.g. Sodium hypochlorite).
  5. Assign at least one item from the inventory to a specific task.
  6. Bonus: Import a file of your existing lab supplies.

Feeling stuck?

Read the following articles:

Watch the following video tutorials:


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