Suggesstions for Keeping a Lab Notebook

  • date all pages (write out month and be sure to include year!)
  • add "continued on p. " and "continued from p. #" for notes on same project that are not on contiguous pages. 
  • new entries are in black
  • comments made at a later date in a different color. (e.g., green - best data!, red - this didn't work or low S/N trash data, blue - any additional info that's not evaluative)
  • use tape to add plots - MUST include path to code that was used to make the plot
  • it's ok to use tape to add in scratch paper that ended up having something really important on it.
  • use scissors and tape to include important tables and figures from papers. Include full reference to paper.
  • can make notes in a text file as long as the text file is eventually printed out and taped in notebook.
  • once you settle on how to do something, make a red line through the notes describing the non-adopted methods.
  • not including details of procedures/methods is okay as long as the names of the well-commented scripts are given (with full paths).
  • there should be cross-references in code back to lab notebook
  • at some point in your career, you'll need to switch from one book, to one book per project.
  • make regular backup copies, either physical paper copies or scans.  Be sure to re-copy/re-scan updated pages.

Other Resources

What Lab Notebooks to Buy

  • Blueline A9 (~$10) - perfect binding (glued, not sewn), compact (7" x 9"), college-rule. Available with various color covers: black, greenred.  Relatively easy to find (e.g,  Staples). Good for undergraduates.
  • National 43648 (~$10) - perfect binding (glued, not sewn), quad rule, green paper, 9" x 12". 
  • Ampad 22-157 (~$18)- spiral bound, quad rule, 9" x 12".
  • Boorum & Pease L21-150 (~$35) - sewn, 8" x 11".
  • M by Staples (~$10) - sewn, college rule, 8.5" x 11".  Good paper, binding lays relatively flat and puts up to being regularly flattened for backup scanning.  Paper is probably not archival quality.  There's also a 6"x8.5" version (~$8).

Page last modified on Thursday 01 of May, 2014 16:18:36 EDT