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CELO Users Guide

Customizable Electronic Laboratory Online (CELO) is a Web-based Data Management System Builder for Biomedical Research Laboratories. The system was developed by the University of Washington's Structural Informatics Group.

To start learning about how to use CELO to build a data management system for your research laboratory, you can walk through the CELO Tutorial. For more details about the different features of the system, visit the CELO Help Pages.

Motivation for CELO

The collection of large amounts of research data has become a growing trend among biomedical research labs. Traditional methods for managing research data, such as lab books, typewritten documents, and spreadsheets created using software such as Microsoft Excel, are becoming insufficient for handling such large data sets. Limitations of these traditional data management methods include inefficiencies with finding data, the need to manually organize data for analysis, and difficulties with sharing data.

A problem many laboratories face is the need for a database and programming expert in order to develop a customized data management system. Any system modifications needed also require an informaticist. The hardware and software costs of some informatics solutions may also be too expensive for many research laboratories to invest in. In light of these issues, we have designed and built CELO. CELO is designed to provide researchers with tools to easily design their own data management systems while reducing resource requirement costs.

CELO Features

CELO was designed to meet the following requirements for a successful data management system:

1. Inexpensive: High costs may prevent some labs from creating needed informatics solutions.

2. Customizable web interfaces: Interface customization tools enable researchers to design their own web-based graphical user interfaces and help reduce the need for developing lab specific scripts.

3. Features to assist researchers in designing database schemas: Allowing researchers to design their own systems is a powerful feature, but researchers cannot be expected to know how to design effective database schemas.

4. Support for multimedia files: It is essential to support the diverse types of data files that are growing in use among biomedical research labs.

5. Powerful querying capabilities: As the amount of data being collected by biomedical research labs grows, querying capabilities become critical.

6. Support for sharing over the internet: With the highly integrative nature of recent research, collaborative efforts are becoming more prevalent. The ability to easily share data is therefore imperative.

7. Plugins for customization: Laboratories each have their unique needs, and a successful system must have a mechanism for integrating custom functionality.