Lab Notebooks from Composition Books

sewn notebook
Compostion book

Laboratory notebooks are best made with notebooks that have a sewn binding. Why? Because pages can't be added to it and when records are recorded properly and consistently, it is an official record of your work.

The Composition book pictured here is an example on a notebook with a sewn binding. The composition book can usually be purchased at just about any store that sells paper and pencils. The notebooks typically have 100 pages and wide rule, or less commonly, graph paper or college rule. The stitches are visible when the notebook is opened to its center page. The pages are not and should not be perforated - pages should never be removed from lab notebook. This notebook is not your only choice, search the internet for "laboratory notebook" and you'll find more choices.

Prepare the Composition Book to Use for a Lab Notebook

If you decide to use the kind of bound notebook that is pictured above, then this is what to do to make it your laboratory notebook.

  1. Write your full name on the cover and the year the lab book was started
  2. Write your name and address and any other applicable information on the inside of the book's cover -- Usually these books do not have blank covers, so you'll have to figure out how to deal with that.
  3. Title page or not? If not, then the first 2 pages should be reserved for the table of contents.
  4. This step assumes that you've set aside at least 2 pages for a table of contents.
  5. Number all of the pages in the book.

Please do the following as you use the lab notebook

  1. Always write legibly
  2. Always write in your lab book with ink
  3. Always write the date on the pages
  4. Always put your name on the pages (your signature)
  5. Always label the pages with the name of the experiment or project
  6. Always update the table of contents
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