I love Moleskine notebooks, first of all. I have used them as lab notebooks for the last 2-3 years, and they are excellent all around. However, they suffer from the main drawbacks of hard copy anything:
- They only exist in one place at a time.
- They are not searchable in any modern sense of the word.
- Sometimes I can’t read my own writing [not a drawback for everyone].
Before Moleskines I kept my logs on our lab wiki, but that was a bit cumbersome.
Enter Google Notebook. I’ve written about other reasons to use Google Notebook before, and around the time I made that post I started using it as a lab notebook as well, but I wanted to give it a trial run for a couple of months before posting about it.
A couple of months have passed, and here I am. I’ve settled on the following format:
- One notebook per month: Each month, I create a new dedicated monthly notebook.
- Old notebooks are moved to Google Docs: It is possible to export a notebook directly to Google Docs. This is a more appropriate place for a long-term, large collection of documents, and it keeps the Notebook uncluttered.
- One entry per day: I started off with each logged item in its own entry. This became cumbersome. Now, I use one entry per day, with timestamps throughout the entry whenever a new item is added.
In contrast to the Moleskine, or other paper journals, this one is present everywhere that I have internet access, and is completely searchable with Google juice. I’ll post on it again after another few months’ use if I have any further insights or enlightening experiences.