ULab is a web-based laboratory and equipment booking, management & inventory system. It enables users to catalogue and visualise their key laboratory equipment on fully customisable floor plans, monitor their activity as well as handling complex booking and hiring, both within their own institution and with external collaborators and customers. In addition it offers search tools that allow users to find and book time on equipment worldwide. Managers are able to gain an overview of their department/ institutional systems ensuring that expensive equipment is utilised in the best manner possible.
ULab was the original idea of an academic, Blair Johnston who brought his vision to two experienced web developers - Tim Plumridge and Ian Thompson. The ULab site was built on the foundations of the SPIDER and STS (SPIDER Template System) web-based content management, database and administration suite. These LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) based systems are the product of over 18 years of development, drawing on the experiences of Strathclyde developers, educators, researchers and scientists alike. Using Agile software design practices, ULab builds on these robust systems with intuitive tools and functions in a scalable package that is able to be quickly adapted to provide novel features to its ever growing userbase.
ULab itself has been in development since January 2012, and is establishing itself as a key tool for streamlining the management of equipment and maximising the utilisation of laboratory facilities.