As you look for new ideas or creative solutions to problems, you should always be sure to record your findings in an engineering notebook. You never know when you will make a breakthrough discovery that needs to be patented, and keeping detailed notes of all your work allows you to prove your findings and back them up within a court of law, or during the patent application process. Engineering notebooks need to contain certain pieces of information to make them valid for proving your work.
All of your notebooks should be kept in chronological order, and you should devote separate notebooks for each project you are working on. Don’t worry if some of the work crosses over, between projects; you can refer to which project and volume number contains your previous work, in these cases. Each notebook in a series for any project should be given volume numbers for easy reference.
Each page in your notebooks should feature your name, the date, and the project name. Be sure to record all of your notes for each project — even the smallest detail should be recorded. In order to show all of your work, you should not use scrap paper. Even when you make a mistake, this should be recorded, to show all failures and successes. All of your information should be recorded with permanent ink; preferably an archival pen that will not bleed through to other pages in your notebook.
Your engineering work is your life’s passion, so be sure to use engineering notebooks to help you obtain patents, and to protect your ideas as you research new products and inventions.