LabArchives frequently asked questions

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LabArchives has been assessed by Oxford’s Information Security team as suitable for storing confidential information (you can read the precise detail of what this means in the Information Classification Scheme (SSO required)). While LabArchives itself is technically and organisationally fit for storing confidential University information and data, as a user you must still make sure that the way you use the system is wise. For example, you should avoid sharing confidential information with external users without first seeking advice.


In most cases, LabArchives will satisfy standard funder requirements for a funding agency or department. However it is possible that your particular funding agreement may specify conditions that are incompatible with LabArchives, for example if only local storage is acceptable. You can find more detail on this question in the terms and conditions of your grant document and on the Research Data Oxford website.
Data of any file type can be stored in LabArchives.


Each individual file must be less than 250 MB.

As part of the Oxford licence, you have unlimited storage. Keep in mind, however, that the maximum individual file size is 250MB. You can use linking for files that are larger than 250MB that are stored on a network drive. If you would like advice on how to do this, contact your local IT Support Staff or
LabArchives servers are kept in a secure, primary data centre with a separate disaster recovery data centre.  LabArchives servers are protected by redundant, industry standard firewalls and security devices. Disk storage systems used for customer data utilise block-level “encryption at rest” via LUKS/AES/SHA256 and all backups of customer data reside only in an encrypted form. For more information on the security of data stored in LabArchives, please contact
  1. To create an account, go to and select University of Oxford on the I want to login to my LabArchives account through my institution drop-down list
  2. You will be directed to the Oxford Single Sign-On system
  3. You may be prompted for multi-factor authentication
  4. After this, select Create or Activate a new LabArchives Account (Note that the email address displayed should not be changed; it is the primary address used by Oxford's SSO for you.)
  5. Click Create New Account
To login, go to and select University of Oxford on the I want to login to my LabArchives account through my institution drop-down list. You will be directed to the Oxford Single Sign-On system.  You may be prompted for multi-factor authentication.
Please contact the Service Desk.
In some cases, the browser cache can interfere with users logging in to LabArchives. To solve this, clear your browser cache and try again. If you still see an error message, please take a screenshot and contact
You may have logged into the US server. Be sure to login at this URL: If someone has shared a notebook with you but it is not listed in the drop-down menu of the notebook navigator, check that they have shared to the correct email address.
This sometimes happens because the other user has shared the item with the wrong email address. For example, it may be that your LabArchives account uses your departmental address but the item was shared with your college address. If this happens, simply ask the other user to share the item again with your correct address. You can see which address LabArchives uses for you by clicking on your name in the LabArchives interface, selecting User Properties, and examining the Email field in the resulting page.  
Your name and email address are set by the Oxford Single Sign-On system, and they cannot be changed.
You can share your notebook with someone outside Oxford; however, they will not log in via Oxford Single Sign-On. Sharing gives access to most LabArchives functionality, though you cannot transfer ownership of the notebook to the external collaborator, and they will not be able to copy this data to another notebook. If you have further questions about sharing notebooks, please contact
For security, public sharing and DOI creation are disabled at Oxford.
While you can download your notebook to Offline HTML or PDF, it is generally recommended that you transfer ownership of your notebook to another user at Oxford. For more information on taking data research with you, please contact
You cannot permanently delete your notebook. You can rename the notebook or hide the notebook from the dropdown list in the Notebook Manager.
You will be automatically logged out of LabArchives if you are away from your computer for more than 120 minutes. You will be logged out of the mobile app if you have not made a change in 25 minutes.

Please contact for more information. 

In most cases, a PI or Lab Manager owns the notebooks and shares them with the members of the lab. You can always transfer ownership of a notebook to another user.
LabArchives is cloud based and you can access it through most updated browsers for Mac and PC. Users generally have the best experience accessing LabArchives from an updated version of Google Chrome, Safari, or FireFox. You can also access your notebooks using the mobile app for Android and iOS Devices. Please note that Microsoft Edge is supported but Microsoft Internet Explorer (discontinued 2015) is not. 
You can organise your notebook through a system of folders and subfolders. Many researchers organise their notebooks through project, date, user, or grant. In some cases, researchers will make specific notebooks for equipment in the lab. Generally, a consistent naming convention or page structure can make it easier to find a specific piece of data.
You can create a PDF of your notebook or download your notebook as an Offline HTML document. The Offline HTML option is considered to be the high-fidelity version of your notebook, and it will contain your attachments. The PDF is designed to be a snapshot of your notebook, and it will contain links to download your attachments. To download your notebook, click the triple bar menu on the top right, select Utilities and select Create Offline Notebook or Notebook to PDF.
It is possible to manage an inventory in LabArchives using a freezer box or database widget. With the Import CSV function, you can also import a CSV file to a database or freezer box widget. To learn more about widgets or importing CSVs, please see LabArchives help or contact LabArchives support for widget training.  
The Notebook Owner or Administrator can set up custom permissions of Can View, Can Edit, and No Access for any part of the notebook. User roles and rights like Signing and Witnessing can be adjusted in User Management. You can also create Custom Groups to manage multiple users' access at once.
Widgets are customised HTML forms that can be made using the Widget Manager. To learn more about widgets please see the LabArchives help or contact LabArchives support for widget training.
The activity feed is a great way to see all changes made by a specific user or for a specific notebook. To access this, select Activity Feedin the triple bar menu. The categories and filters make it easy to see recent changes in the notebook. The Notebook Dashboard and Search feature can also be used to manage actions in the notebook.
You can receive notifications within LabArchives for actions such as comments or page signing. To view your notifications, click the triple bar menu on the top right and select Activity Feed. You can also turn on email notifications in User Properties.
The advanced search feature at the top of the page allows you to search through any notebook in your account, and the filters make it easy to find any piece of data that you are looking for. You can also search a specific folder or page by right clicking in the Notebook Navigator and clicking Search.
You can sign pages to permanently indicate a final version. If you turn on page witnessing, another user can approve or reject the signature. Page signing and witnessing must be turned on in Notebook Settings.
The University of Oxford has worked with LabArchives to implement a number of modifications to the system, designed to make the assertion of provenance of work extremely robust:
  • Oxford users must use their SSO credentials to log in
  • User attributes (your first and last name, plus your unique SSO username) are passed to LabArchives, and cannot be changed
  • Your user attributes are written to all content changes in the system
  • A full version history is kept: nothing is ever deleted in LabArchives
  • When you export your content, your user attributes are written to the pages
  • When you export content, the system generates a SHA-2 hashcode, which is stored in a list that cannot be changed by anyone. This provides a means of verifying the provenance of your work even after it is exported from LabArchives
LabArchives have provided us with a document that answers this question.