Notebook Keeping: Quick Tips to Get Started

—from the Researcher's bench

Ideally, on your first day as an undergrad in the lab, your mentor will give a thorough tutorial on proper notebook keeping.

Unfortunately, from the inquires I regularly receive from undergrads, (and grad students and postdocs who mentor undergrads), notebook keeping is often an afterthought until a few weeks have passed.

Who Owns "Your" Notebook?

Many students are surprised to learn that they don't actually own their research notebook. Depending on the institution's rules, your PI might not even own it--it could be considered property of your college or university.

Some PIs are fine with students making their own copies of a notebook at the end of their research experience, but others are not. Regardless, most will require you to leave the original copies in the lab for a variety of reasons.