Benchling guide

Best Practice Guide: Templates

  • 7 August 2023
  • 1 reply

Userlevel 4

If your scientists find themselves repeatedly performing the same experiments and struggling to capture that data in Benchling, templates could save the day. Trust me when I say, we won’t stop bringing it up until everyone is using templates to their maximum potential. 

Registering lots of entities? Use a template. 

Doing a plate-based workflow? Use a template. 

Even if you’re iterating on experimental procedures. Use. A. Template. Why? Because even if just the scaffolding of a beautiful notebook entry is pre-created for you, you’re likely to have better consistency, better structured data capture, and a better looking entry than if you use a blank one. What pains us worse than blank notebook entries? Watching people struggle to copy & paste elements into between notebook entries--it doesn’t work great. Do yourself a favor and USE A TEMPLATE

We’ve gathered our Template Best Practices to give everyone absolutely no excuses for why they are still using plain old notebook entries. 

  • Components of an Effective Template - Learn to connect and link structured tables to increase efficiency and ease of use
  • Which Template Type Do I Use? -  Distinguish between a sub-templates, fill-in-only templates, and regular templates and pick the right one for your use case 
  • Why use a Notebook Sub-Template? - Sub-templates are a great tool for folks with flexible experiments or very artfully-crafted tables that they use in multiple types of entries
  • Best Practices: Template Development - Know what to include when you’re developing templates for different purposes and carefully consider who is best equipped to translate your labs processes into templates
  • Best Practices: Template Organization & Maintenance - Have a plan for organizing, updating, and retiring templates and make sure to set up appropriate permissions for your template collections
  • Best Practices: Template Adoption - Once templates are created, enabling the team and getting consistent feedback will make template adoption on your team much smoother

  Full BPG attached below!

Image 1: Summary of and delineation between different types of templates

Comment below to let us know how you’re using Templates or *gasp* blank notebook entries 📒📘

1 reply

Userlevel 2

I have found a great use of Sub-Templates as a way for teams to take material out of a shared stock. For example, if we have 1g of a material and someone wants to take 200mg for their own use, they can insert a sub-template that includes an Inventory table to transfer material from the master lot to the new aliquot. Transferring via the inventory table allows for everyone to access the same material without fear of asking for more than is actually available. In addition, the sub-template allows for the users to insert the transfer into their own notebooks so they can have the aliquoting and eventual use of the material in the same notebook. 

I don’t typically use blank notebooks but do have a very sparse general experiment template that has stuff like Purpose, Background, and Conclusions as placeholder headers.