Sharing instruments between a group of users in a laboratory setting is a pain.
We spend a lot of time running back and forth to a calendar pinned up on the wall
next to the instruments seeing what times are available, who we might be able to swap
with and how we should best plan out our experimental schedule.
(And we are not alone with this problem!)
After the machines have been used, we have to charge our users for the time they have used.
This means that someone either has to spend lots of time adding up these data from the
abovementioned calendars then putting it into excel to calculate the bills.
How inefficient does that sound?
The Bumblebee project has created a simple to use booking and billing system that draws
these two functions together.
The Bumblebee Instrument Management software is based upon:
Apache httpd +
This provides a free, flexible system that allows users to book instrument
time and then prepare invoices for subsequent charge-outs.
- can use both RADIUS and LDAP authentication permitting integration with central sign-on infrastructure
- users are able to view the booking sheets in a calendar format for a month or a single day
- users are only able to view booking data for the
instruments they are permitted to use.
- users can make bookings or alter their own bookings.
- instrument administrators are able to modify anyone's bookings on an instrument and make bookings on behalf of other users.
- the use of consumables can also be recorded within the system
- the business logic for instrument billing is designed specifically for collaborative research in
an academic environment including classes of user (e.g. internal, external users) and
splitting usage costs between different research groups.
- system administrators are able to create new instruments, users, billing categories, etc
- data for bookings and consumable use can be exported in a variety of formats (CSV, tab delimited,
HTML or PDF)
- various views and summaries of the booking and consumabe data are also available in the above formats
(e.g. summary of all instruments used by a research group; summary of all users of an instrument)
- presentation of data and the business logic of the application are separated through the use of
templates and CSS
Bumblebee is licenced under the GPL
and is available for download.
Support is available by contacting
please read the fine manual before contacting
the authors as no-one's free time is unlimited...!