Avoid Research Traffic Jams with LabArchives Scheduler*

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*Disclaimer: Duke does not have an enterprise license with LabArchives Scheduler. Scheduler is a free online tool that you may use at your own discretion. Resources in institutionally-designated service centers/cores must be reserved through CoreResearch@Duke.

As research at Duke is cautiously returning in phases during this pandemic, everyone is faced with adjusting to a new normal.  For many groups, research team members now have to schedule on-site work shifts in order to maintain physical distancing.  This presents a new challenge to researchers who are not accustomed to coordinating their team’s schedule at this level of detail and logistical complexity.  Maintaining a schedule for some groups may be readily achieved with a simple calendar application like Google Calendar or MS Outlook.  However, for people who are looking for more features in their time scheduling application, we wanted to let you know that LabArchives Scheduler provides another option with some unique features. The LabArchives Scheduler is a web-based scheduling system that is accessible on any internet-connected device. 

Signing up for LabArchives Scheduler is free and researchers do not need to have a LabArchives notebook to start exploring. If you are a current user of a LabArchives notebook, be aware that LabArchives Scheduler requires a separate user login, and does not integrate directly with the notebook.  The LabArchives Scheduler has a free, basic version (discussed here, which is quite comprehensive) and a paid, premium version with more options and features.  The free version allows a designated administrator(s) to easily create a set of resources (equipment, space, computers, etc.) and invite their team members to access that list, so that they can each manage their own reservations in a centralized and transparent manner.  Administrators can also manage the list of users and assign them view rights or booking rights for each resource. Once they have joined the administrator’s established reservation system, users can add LabArchives Scheduler reservations to their personal calendar, and can choose to receive email notifications when a new reservation is set up or edited.

Caveat for set-up if a user collaborates with multiple units: At the moment, a user can only be a part of one reservation system (i.e., one set of resources). If you need to access additional LabArchives Scheduler reservation systems, you must sign up for a separate account under a different email address. That way one email address can access schedules and resources for one reservation system and the second email address will be for resources and schedules for the other.

Using LabArchives Scheduler can be a good tool for communicating important information to the research team as well.  Here are two examples:

  1. A research team member starts an experiment and wants another team member to take out their samples and put them in the freezer. 

Use the application to invite others to a resource reservation and add detailed notes to the event on how to store the samples. 

  1. A piece of equipment is going offline so that it can be serviced.

The administrator will create a blackout period for that particular instrument to prevent bookings during that time.  If there are reservations scheduled during the blackout, they can choose to have the scheduler application send an email notification to those users.

If you are interested in trying out LabArchives Scheduler, create a free account today by signing in here: https://www.labagenda.com/

We also highly recommend watching the brief introductory video at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H06YfyUIvSM

Information and quick-start guides are available on the LabArchives Knowledgebase:  https://labarchives.kayako.com/Knowledgebase/List/Index/327/labarchives-scheduler