Scanning Lab Notebooks Prevents Disaster

Traditional paper laboratory notebooks provide a convenient and versatile means for researchers and other laboratory professionals to document their work. However, paper notebooks can easily be lost or damaged. Scanning your lab books provides a needed backup that will ensure that important records are safe and accessible.

glove hand with lab equipment

Paper-based lab notebooks are here to stay. They’re far too convenient and versatile to ever be replaced by a digital medium. Also, the act of recording notes by hand has been shown to help humans in the retention of information—another great argument for keeping scientific notebooks in research labs.

Although paper notebooks will continue to be an important part of laboratory protocol, there is a place for digital technology in helping to record important information about experiments, studies, and other lab work. Scanning pages from research notebooks into a digital archive will help preserve the information within these critical records. Scanned copies also make reproducing and sharing processes, procedures, and observations from lab professionals easier.

Scientific notebooks are very helpful in the process of documenting research and experience, but they are vulnerable to any number of disasters. They can be lost in transit from one location to another. They can be stolen. They can be damaged and rendered illegible by chemical spills. They can be destroyed in fires or natural disasters.

Loss of the important information contained in these notebooks is an unacceptable risk for research organizations and labs. Millions of dollars may be lost if research organizations do not keep thorough documentation of their work.

Scientific notebooks often play a critical role in the patent process and in legal challenges regarding patents and intellectual property. A properly maintained scientific notebook can provide critical evidence documenting the progression and timing of research and development.

These notebooks also play an important role in allowing researchers see how other researchers arrived at conclusions, allowing them to build upon the work of those who’ve gone before them. Scanning notebooks eliminates this risk.

Modern scanning equipment can create accurate, crystal-clear images of lab notebook pages in full color. These images are typically saved in a document management system that makes accessing needed information convenient. Many have full-text searches that allow data managers to quickly find relevant pages.

Lab staff can scan pages in themselves or turn the responsibility over to a reliable professional scanning operation. Professional scanners can ensure the integrity of the original notebooks are maintained, and that all digital copies of notebook pages are of good quality and are properly saved.

Lab notebooks

Laboratories should make scanning scientific notebooks a key component of their disaster recovery and compliance policies. This digital technology can ensure that lab notebooks that can provide important insight of how discoveries are made or offer important evidence for court cases or patent applications are never lost, making it a worthwhile investment.

SNCO manufactures top-quality laboratory notebooks, patent notebooks, engineering notebooks, and related materials. Founded in 1959, SNCO has provided a durable medium of documentation for generations of the nation’s leading minds in science and medicine.