Engineering Notebook

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How to Keep a Good Notebook

  • Choose a notebook without removable pages if possible (ex. composition notebook).
  • Write in pen when possible.
  • Number the pages if the notebook doesn't already have them numbered.
  • Put your contact information on the front inside cover so that it is clear to whom the notebook belongs.
  • Leave at least half of the first page blank for contact information (other people's), passwords, or any other important info. This is also a good place to tape business cards.
  • Save the first few pages for a table of contents.
  • Date each entry at least once a page.
  • Use descriptive titles and headings.
  • Record all group activities and any observations you have.
  • Loose paper should be pasted into notebook (date and explain).
  • Cross out any unused pages or large empty spaces.
  • Keep related information together.
  • Feel free to visualize concepts in your notebook - make sketches and explain what they are,
  • Remember: Be specific! Details are very important!
  • Log and record hours as you go. This gives you a record of the work you have put into the project if anyone asks.
  • Start your notebook early, so information is most accurate, and it is easiest to keep track of.
  • Bring notebook to every meeting so it is easy to keep up-to-date.
  • A calendar is helpful to keep along with notebook to track your schedule.
  • The notebook is also a good place to keep track of tasks to each person:
    -what their task is
    -what completion looks like
    -when it is to be done by
  • The notebook is also a good place to note conference call questions.
  • Care should be taken to sufficiently describe any ideas or concepts written in the notebook at the time of writing, so that they can be understood at a later date.


Special thanks to M. Kennedy and C. McCarter

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