Inventor's Logbook - 16 Tips
Category Inventing Advice
16 suggestions for keeping a proper logbook
  1. Keep one logbook for each active project.
  2. Keep records of telephone calls, names and addresses of important contacts.
  3. It is poor practice to rely on a busy person's memory. Identify every entry as to its purpose and intent.
  4. Avoid using scrap paper, backs of envelopes and blank tablets for recording ideas. Put all thoughts, notes and technical doodles in the logbook.
  5. Entries must be arranged in chronological order on successive pages. Do not skip pages and plan to fill them in later. Pages are numbered and sewn in the binding to help prevent someone from tampering with your logbook.
  6. Cross out unused spaces on pages to prevent later entries under an earlier date. This will add to the validity of the information in the logbook.
  7. If it is necessary to add a note to a prior entry, indicate it by placing it in the margin and dating it so that it cannot be misunderstood as an attempt to falsify records.
  8. Indicate the person working with you in connection with each entry. If someone else makes an entry in the logbook, he or she should date and sign the entry to identify it as his or hers.
  9. Use a lot of sketches to record ideas, design circuits, diagrams and test equipment setups.
  10. Engineering drawings and large sketches must be noted in your logbook by reference: number, title, date and short description of what the drawing portrays.
  11. Glue or tape copies of small drawings, notes, clippings, photos, receipts for materials, equipment or labor in the designer's logbook. Also, such items as memos, letters, progress reports or other important material may be added. Each added item must be referenced with a date.
  12. Once an idea has been fully described and illustrated in the Designer's Logbook it should be explained to a suitable witness--one who will not receive any financial gain.
  13. The witness should write at the bottom of each page, "(Project name) explained to me" or "(Project name) read and understood by me," witness signature and date.
  14. Laboratory experiments or tests should be described and recorded in detail.
  15. The first "reduction to practice," which is the first operation of prototype or model, should be demonstrated to a witness who understands it. The witness should state in the logbook "Operations and results observed of the (Project)," witness signature and date.
  16. Protect your intellectual property logbook by storing it in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or locked desk.

Reprinted with permissoin, by Dr. Gerald McClain, former Head of the Mechanical Design and Technology Department, OSU and Vice President of Internet & Multimedia Teletraining Institute
Category Inventing Advice
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