I think file cabinet manufacturing is going out of business. As the design world continues to focus on the utopic model-based-design phenomena, more and more pieces of the process are moving away from paper records and towards electronic records. They are being electronified.
It's a good thing, unless you are a file cabinet maker. Not having to translate the chicken scratching of the prior art, being able to search for keywords rather than reading an entire notebook worth of thoughts, and of course being able to backup electronic data (which is much easier than photocopying a notebook) are three ways in which designers and engineers can improve their process by transitioning away from paper-based systems.
Accelrys Notebook (formerly Contur ELN) is one tool that focuses on paper records. Although keyed more towards the scientist rather than an engineer or designer, engineers have similar requirements when keeping an "engineering notebook" like scientists keep lab notebooks. The tools and functionality within Accelrys Notebook are beneficial to the engineer, designer, or architect. But don't expect this to replace your sketchpad. You can link to Excel tables, show charts and graphs, include other graphics, and import data, but you won't be penciling in the next skyline or consumer product with Accelrys. Unless, your designs look like benzine rings.
Accelrys Notebook 5.0, released late February, can be deployed on-premise or on the cloud and offers three main enhancements:
- Easy to configure
- Improved productivity and immediate access
- Fast user adoption
Notebooks can be accessed via a web-based client on the desktop, laptop, and select mobile devices or through a traditional desktop client.
Transitioning to paperless is not easy. Moving a single function to a paperless system does not have any value if the rest of the process still requires paper records. Being able to capture the thoughts and notes of the engineers, scientists, and designers in an electronic system that can be linked to other paperless processes like solid models, drawings, simulations, and inspection records is when the utopia of a paperless environment may finally be realized. Accelrys Notebook is but one tool to replace the traditional paper note taking method with an electronic tool.