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Storing the notebook

Keep your lab book is a common word processor (MS Office or Put the file on the McKinney lab SMB share (, in a subdirectory of the Lab books directory. For instance, Fred Ross's lab book is in books/Fred.

In parallel, keep a hard copy in a binder. You can get binders and plastic page protectors from Suzanne.

Format of the notebook

Parts of experiments are kept together, not spread over several days, and entered on the day the experiment began. Start each experiment on a new page so you can add pages to an earlier experiment without having to change anything afterwards. On the top right of each page, put the date (formatted as yyyy-mm-dd, or with / or . in place of - if you prefer).

Each experiment should be listed in a table of contents under its date with a short description.

Keep separate notebooks for experiments, animal experiments, plasmid construction, and strain construction. All these things proceed on different time scales, so it is inconvenient to have them together. If you are mathematically inclined, you will also want a separate (possibly hard bound) notebook for calculations and theory work.

Strain and Plasmid Lists

Procedure for naming plasmids: p(Investigator's 2 initials)(3 digit numerical code)

So Neeraj Dhar's plasmids would be pND100...pND199... The series are:

Numbers Meaning
100-199 E. coli plasmids
200-299 Mycobacterial plasmids
300-399 other oddball plasmids

Procedure for naming strains: (Investigator's 2 initials)(Species code)(numerical code)

So Neeraj Dhar's strains would be ND-C-1 (for E. coli strains); ND-S-1... (for M. smegmatis strains); ND-T-1.... (for M. tuberculosis strains); ND-M-1... (for M. marinum strains); and so on.

Keep your own record of strains, plasmids, primers, etc. (a spreadsheet is particularly good for this) and also put all the relevant data in the lab software (we'll get to this when it's set up...)