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CERF Electronic Lab Notebook

Electronic lab notebook software for biological researchers.


* Please note new CERF ELN Licenses are currently on hold!


Rescentris’ Collaborative Electronic Research FrameworkTM (CERF) is electronic lab notebook software designed for biological researchers. CERF is designed to replace paper notebooks entirely. It  enables collaborations and sharing of data and research results, provides a complete audit trail as well as version control for documents, and allows you to search very efficiently through all text notes, PDFs and Word documents stored in the system. All data in CERF are stored on a centrally administered server and are backed up regularly.

Availability and costs

CCRF has purchased a limited number of seat licenses for CERF.   These are currently available on a first come, first served basis. Currently all costs are covered by CCRF:  PIs at CCHMC and their research lab staff can use CERF at no charge. (We are trying to clarify availability for UC researchers; please let us know if you are interested).

Access to CERF

If you would like to use CERF on a trial basis, please send us an email with your name, contact information, your PI's name and your lab affiliation(s). An applications specialist will gladly attend your lab meeting and get you started on the CERF test server. Once you are convinced that CERF is right for you, we can migrate you to our production server. If (and only if) you have administrator rights on your computer, then you can get started by installing the client right away from the links listed below. If you don't have admin rights then please contact the IS help desk at 636-4100 for help.

Client installation and configuration instructions

Important note for Vista users

  • On Vista, you need to manually retrieve updates. To do so, go to C:\Program Files\RescentrisWorkspace\CERF and double-click updater.exe. You will need to put in your log in and server information. Then the CERF client will update.

CERF plugins

Learn more about available plugins.

CERF 4.5 documentation

Training videos

Rescentris now offers several training videos on YouTube that explain the basic concepts underlying CERF. 

Monthly user workshops

Biomedical Informatics sponsors a monthly training and discussion forum for CERF users. See our user workshops page for details including upcoming dates and times.

E-mail list

We have set up a mailing list for the CERF ELN that people can subscribe to and unsubscribe from at will. This list is primarily used for announcements regarding scheduled downtimes as well as to remind CERF users of upcoming user workshops. You may also use it to ask questions and make comments of general interest (please be mindful, though, that your email will be sent to the entire CERF usership at CCHMC).


Send an email to if you need help installing or using the CERF ELN. Please do NOT call or send email to Rescentris directly, as we will be charged for each support call. Instead please contact the BMI Help Desk, and we will pass your request on to Rescentris if necessary.