Much like a scientific lab book, an engineering notebook keeps a record of your experiments and proof of who performed them. Your notebook is a study tool, a reference book, and a legal document. You must be detailed and thorough in your notes. Ahead, learn some different uses for an engineering notebook.
Reference for Yourself
As you study and learn how to conduct experiments, your current inventions build upon your past work. Having detailed notes you can reference moving forward will help as you study for an exam or perfect an invention. Avoid using any shorthand or assuming you’ll remember certain formulas or ideas; write every thought down to be safe!
Reference for Others
No engineer exists in a vacuum. Other students and engineers around you could benefit greatly from your notes—and vice versa. You can learn from other people’s notes and use their foundational work to expound on ideas of your own. Ensure that future engineers can use your notebook for reference by writing neatly and completely. Write down every idea and thought with an archival-quality pen. If you make a mistake, strike it out with a single line so future engineers can learn from your mistakes, too.
Related to the above, your lab or workplace will benefit from having a record of all its engineers’ projects, experiments, and inventions. Make your engineering lab notebook a part of your lab’s history by taking complete, thorough notes that future engineers can learn from.
When you have that “eureka” moment and invent something unique and ingenious, you’ll want to prove that it’s yours! Your lab book serves as an important piece of evidence when acquiring a patent. If any disputes arise and another engineer wants to take credit for your invention, your lab notebook will prove them wrong. Initial and date each page of your notebook, and consider having a witness initial and date it, too.
A sturdy lab notebook is an invaluable resource for any engineer. Document your findings and share your knowledge with other engineers. These different uses for an engineering notebook will be crucial to your academic and career success, so practice your notetaking skills today.