APPENDIX 2A Laboratory Notebooks and Data Storage

  1. Michael Williams,
  2. Donna Bozyczko-Coyne,
  3. Bruce Dorsey,
  4. Scott Larsen

Published Online: 1 OCT 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470089941.eta02as00

Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques

Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques

How to Cite

Williams, M., Bozyczko-Coyne, D., Dorsey, B. and Larsen, S. 2008. Laboratory Notebooks and Data Storage. Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques. 00:2A:A.2A.1–A.2A.28.

Author Information

  1. Cephalon, Inc., Frazer, Pennsylvania

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 OCT 2008
  2. Published Print: JAN 2008


The laboratory notebook, whether in hardcopy or electronic (ELN) format, represents a true, chronological record of a scientist's bench work, incorporating the primary source of all materials and information related to the design, execution, and outcomes (data) for a specific experiment. The notebook content thus represents a precise, legible record of what was done, why, and by whom. It also describes the outcome of the experiment and how this is related to the initial hypothesis on which performing the experiment was based. As an archive, a laboratory notebook allows others previously unassociated with the work to understand what was done and, if necessary, independently recreate the experiments. A laboratory notebook and its associated records (e.g., computer printouts or HPLC traces) also represent the vital record of the conception date of an invention and its reduction to practice, providing a timely and necessary legal record to support and defend patent applications.


  • laboratory notebook;
  • electronic notebook (ELN);
  • experimentation;
  • intellectual property;
  • patents