Using Google Notebook as a Lab Notebook

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:

  1. They only exist in one place at a time.
  2. They are not searchable in any modern sense of the word.
  3. 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:

  1. One notebook per month: Each month, I create a new dedicated monthly notebook.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

5 thoughts on “Using Google Notebook as a Lab Notebook

  1. Rob

    Why was the wiki more cumbersome than Google Notebooks, out of curiosity?

  2. Richard Querin

    I’m interested in doing something similar and using Google Notebook for a phone conversation log. You mentioned timestamps on your entries. Are these entered manually or is there some more (semi-) automatic way to generate them?

  3. brock Post author

    Richard: I add timestamps manually. The latest updates (which I have been meaning to write about) now datestamp the notes, but there is no automatic timestamping.

  4. Pingback: Updates to Google Notebook Make It Even Better As a Lab Notebook

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