Lab notebook use case

Hi all,

I'm a physicist who recently started using Joplin as a lab notebook. I've been searching for a good electronic lab notebook for years, and Joplin is about three features shy of being exactly what I've been looking for. I believe my potential use case is pretty common among scientists, so I figured it would be worth sharing here.

I have Joplin set up to sync with a Nextcloud server that allows my labmates and I to share a set of notebooks (one for each research project) in which we compose our own notes on a daily basis (one for each individual research task). We rarely need to edit each other's notes, and I have yet to have any syncing nightmares between users (knock on wood).

I've used ELOG in the past, and there are three features I sorely miss:

  1. An author field in the note metadata. We can sign our notes by hand, but it would be nice if it was automatically populated from the user's profile info
  2. The ability to view and sort by date and author metadata in the note list. I know this has been requested in other threads.
  3. The ability to reply to notes and have the "thread" structure visible in the note list. This structure is effectively the same as what you see when viewing email, and allows one to visually group notes that share a common topic. The third image here shows what I mean.

Thanks for all the hard work to this nice open-source product. I really like it so far, but the lack of the above features is enough to stop me from recommending it to other scientists. If they were implemented, I know a bunch of physicists who might hop onboard.


I wonder if this could be achieved by Obsidian's knowledge graph (which can be emulated in Joplin via plugins). But I'm afraid issues number 1 and 3 simply point out that Joplin was not designed as groupware from the start (although self-hosting or using Joplin Cloud can provide some features which go in this direction).