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Name of Collaboratory :


Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory Collaboratory (EMSL)


Logo :


URL :  

Collaboratory Status :

Operational   Start Date : 1994 End Date : Info Last Updated : Mon, Dec 6 2004 12:01am PST

Primary Collaboratory Function :

  Shared Instrument  

Secondary Collaboratory Functions :

  Expert Consultation  

Domain(s) :

  Organic chemistry  

Brief Description of the Collaboratory :


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) is a national user facility housing a variety of state-of-the-art scientific instruments. As a regional Department of Energy (DOE) lab, it is mandated to provide 50% access time to external users. Through the EMSL 'collaboratory' project, EMSL provides the option of remote access to scientists who are awarded time in the facility.

A variety of EMSL instruments, including the suite of high-power NMR's can be accessed remotely. Approximately 25% of external users currently take advantage of remote access.

EMSL internally developed the CORE2000 suite of software tools, which include:
a. Synchronous remote instrument control: In the early phases of the project they developed custom controls for different NMR (Maganetic Resonance...) instruments. Now they use VNC, a simple and free screen-sharing software.
b. Synchronous collaboration support: TheCORE 2000 system supports chat, whiteboarding, and videoconferencing (via CUSeeMe) and some custom chemistry modeling tools.
c. Asynchronous collaboration support: The Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) software provides an online shared workspace for saving lab notes, chemistry models, instrument settings, and graphical screen-captures of experiment results.


Access to Instruments :

  A set of NMR instruments at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory  

Access to Information Resources :

  Electronic lab notebooks provide means to share instrument settings, instrument output, and other data.  

Access to People as Resources :

  EMSL staff provide technical and logistical support for external users, serve as a conduit for technical information between projects.  

Funding Agency or Sponsor :

Department of Energy (DOE)
Office of Science
Office of Biological and Environmental Research

Notes on Funding Agencies/Sponsors:


Notes on Participants/Organizations:
EMSL supports about 25-30 external NMR users every six month period, 25-30% of these typically use the remote access feature. Other instruments at EMSL are also shared remotely, but this usage is not tracked.


Communications Technology Used :

  Most remote operation is now done with VNC screen-sharing software. This is supplemented with remote camera access to see the machine displays, plus telephone and email contact with EMLS staff.  

Technical Capabilities :

  Management of technical resources
Security, Access control/login facilities
Simulation, modeling, visualization
Support for transition between synch and asynch
Directory of services/experts/resources, Workflow management, Shared calendars, Notification of events or a need by someone
Asynchronous object sharing
Index/metadata, General search capability, Common file space, Data stream capture, Audit trail of events, Email/attachments
Asynchronous conversation
Annotation on objects, Threaded discussion, Audio capture and replay, Video capture and replay, Web forms, Email
Synchronous object sharing
Telepointers/annotation, Instrument monitoring, Shared instrument control, Electronic whiteboards, Share visualization, Data conferencing, Application sharing
Synchronous conversation
Audio, Video, Instant messaging/chat
  Key Articles :  

Bair, R. A. (1998). Collaboratories: Building electronic scientific communities. Chemical Sciences Roundtable Workshop: Impact of Advances in Computing and Communications Technologies on Chemical Science and Technology. (pp. 125-140). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Chin, G. Jr., Myers, J., & Hoyt, D. (2002). Social networks in the virtual science laboratory Communications of the ACM, 45(8), 87-92.

Finholt, T. A. (2003). Collaboratories as a new form of scientific organization Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 12(1), 5-25.

Finholt, Thomas A. (2002). Collaboratories: Science over the Internet. in Teich, Albert H., Nelson, Stephen D., and Lita, Stephen J. (editors). AAAS Science and Technology Policy Yearbook. (pp. 339-344). Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Hoyt, D. W., Burton, S. D., Peterson, M. R., Myers, J. D., & Chin, G. Jr. (2004). Expanding your laboratory by accessing collaboratory resources Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 378(6), 1408-1410.

Kling, R., McKim, G., & King, A. (2002). A bit more to it: Scholarly Communication Forums as Socio-Technical Interaction Networks Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 54(1), 47-67.

Kouzes, R. T. (2000). Electronic collaboration in environmental and physical sciences research. In S. H. Koslow & M. F. Huerta (editors). Electronic collaboration in science. (pp. 89-112). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Kouzes, R. T., Meyers, J. D. & Wulf, W. A. (1996). Collaboratories: Doing science on the Internet Computer, v. 29, n.8, 40-46.

Myers, J. D., Chappell, A. R., Elder, M. (2003). Re-integrating the research record Computing in Science & Engineering, May/June, 44-50.

Myers, J. D., Pancerella, C., Lansing, C., Schuchardt, K. L., & Didier, B. (2003). Multi-scale science: Supporting emerging practice with semantically derived provenance. CEUR Workshop Proceedings (Proceedings of the Workshop on Semantic Web Technologies for Searching and Retrieving Scientific Data), 83, n.p.. Retrieved December 16, 2003, from

National Research Council, Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications (1999). Impact of Advances in Computing and Communications Technologies on Chemical Science and Technology: Report of a Workshop. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

North Carolina Board of Science and Technology and National Research Council (1999). Collaboratories: Improving research capabilities in chemical and biomedical sciences. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Schur, A., Keating, K. A., Payne, D. A., Valdez, T., Yates, K. R., & Myers, J. D. (1998). Collaborative suites for experiment-oriented scientific research. ACM Interactions, 3(5), 40-47.


Project-reported performance data :

  Images of the Collaboratory:  
screen shot of various windows showing interfaces used in the EMSL tools
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