The Difference Between LIMS & ELN

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Scientific innovations cannot happen without technology. Particularly in a laboratory environment, IT systems are the critical supports propping up workflows & processes. With the right applications in place, technology can empower employees with the tools needed to manage workload, run diagnostics, and create breakthroughs.

Gaining a perspective on its popularity within the market also help pitch you ahead of your competitors. As specialist recruiters in healthcare, we have a deep understanding of our market niches. Most popular IT systems for a lab? LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System), and ELN (Electronic Laboratory Notebook).



Whilst a LIMS and an ELN have different functionalities, the complementary pair share one common goal – to improve the efficiency of lab workings. Developing over time, most market vendors now offer both applications as part of their product specs. Implementing a combination of both LIMS and ELN can ensure all your laboratory needs are met. Whereas other times, a laboratory will only need to invest in only one of the two. At the end of the day, it’s about selecting the right tool for the job to help you achieve the outcomes you’ve set.

Selecting the IT systems that best support a laboratory can be tricky process – but it can be easier by understanding how each can service specific needs. So, what are the key features of a LIMS and an ELN?



  • Sample management, tracking end-to-end data through the process

  • Monitors inventory and stock to ensure supplies are kept at sufficient levels

  • Centralises access to data making it easier to review processes

  • Data reporting tools

  • Improved infrastructure with remote access available through various Cloud LIMS solutions

  • Provides workflow infrastructure making laboratory activities more streamlined



  • Note-taking capabilities eliminating the need for pen and paper

  • Storing electronic notes means information is more easily shared with colleagues

  • Used primarily for laboratory research

  • Research no longer slowed down by inefficient information exchange chains

  • Can be integrated into existing LIMS applications


Now that you know how each function and the solutions they cater for, which one will you be implementing?

Dedicated to the niche LIMS market, I am well equipped to provide bespoke staffing support across all facets of the laboratory IT space (LIMS, ELN, CDS, LIS, SDMS). Having an ever-growing, extensive candidate network with a wide range of application specialisms and experience, we are well-established service providers who can connect you to the experts you need. ​