What Is an Electronic Diary?

An electronic diary is a schedule book kept on a computer. Instead of using pen and paper to write down appointments, meetings and other time-sensitive tasks, an individual can install software that performs the same operations. Because electronic diaries are not portable on desktop computers, companies have developed a wide spectrum of conveyable personal organisers or personal data assistants that have the same functions of a Filofax

Key Features

In contrast to paper diaries, electronic diaries are quicker and more flexible to use. The format of the diary can be changed to provide users with different views, such as daily, weekly and monthly calendars. It can provide users with automatic alerts of pending appointments, store copies of schedules in the past and add more room or pages if necessary, according to the JISC website's "Electronic Diaries." Search functionality also allows users to locate people, meetings and scheduling details with a click of a button.

Use in Scientific Research

Electronic diaries are used by scientists to conduct time-sensitive research. According to the University of Sheffield's "Electronic Diary System," a study in the transmission rates of human genital disease was conducted via an electronic diary on the web by the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine of the University of Washington (2002). The status of each participant in the study was tracked by a web diary that was secured and accessible only to university members.

Use in Organizations

In business organisations, an electronic diary can be shared by employees over a network, which significantly reduces the time it takes to coordinate multiple individual schedules for a meeting. Peer pressure typically compels people to use shared diaries. Training on company-specific conventions regarding diary use also encourages use. Managers and department heads with heavy schedules can coordinate appointments more easily through a shared electronic diary with their assistants.


Electronic diaries are subject to the same risks of using any computer software. Any number of viruses can attack a computer or shared network and wipe out an electronic diary's data. In addition, data files can become corrupted, in which case details of meetings and appointments need to be reconstructed. In the same way a paper diary can be stolen or misplaced, a laptop or personal data assistant can also vanish along with the electronic diary.

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