Record Keeping

Records take little time and effort when they are made routinely. They become an invaluable asset to work in progress and ultimately may protect the inventor’s entitlement to intellectual property rights. These ideal practices are described in Record Keeping by Research Corporation Technologies:

  • Use a bound notebook for records, making entries on a daily basis on consecutively numbered pages. Always enter any results on the same day they were obtained
  • Use the notebook to record concepts (complete description of a means to accomplish a particular purpose or result), laboratory data and drawings. Provide brief interpretations of data whenever appropriate (e.g. whether the experiment worked, didn’t work, gave unexpected results)
  • Make entries in ink and do not erase; draw a line through text or drawings to be deleted and enter the material in corrected form. Draw a line through blank spaces on the page
  • Separate sheets and photographs pasted to notebook pages should be referred to in an entry. Material that cannot be incorporated in the notebook should be referenced to entry
  • Sign and date all entries at the time they are made, and have them signed and dated by a witness. A witness must be someone who has read the material and is capable of understanding it, yet had nothing to do with producing it. Secure additional witnesses when you discover something very important or highly unusual. Remember that an inventor and co-inventor cannot serve as each other’s or his/her own witness
  • Set aside a regular time for making notebook entries and observe it faithfully. Arrange to have two or more colleagues serve as witnesses on a regular basis
  • Keep a separate lab book for projects that are separately sponsored