It is a feature of working in a lab that your lab books are the property of the lab you work in. When you move on, you leave them behind. How could it be different? The whole point of the work you do is to create products and the first drafts in the lab book are a part of that product.
This never really gave me a moment’s thought until I embarked on a new project yesterday. I have decided to create a range of products for spas. I am not entirely sure how I am going to turn this project into the hard cash I need to keep my business going yet. But I just know that this is a project I simply have to do.
The first stage is to go over my notes and records and pull together all the relevant work I have done before. This is always an important stage in any project, but in this particular case it is one of the big reasons for doing the project in the first place. I am going to be drawing on almost my entire career to create what I have in mind. And now I am starting on it, I realise that I have a big chunk of what I would really like to refer to that is missing. All those notes, records, observations, even the weighing figures and calculations. I would really like to have access to them all. I can live without them. I am a big taker of notes and have lots of stuff that I can refer to. And I have a database as well that has a great amount of information about what I am working on.
But even so, I am missing the actual lab notes themselves. It is a bit like having the ticket, the printed programme and the receipt from the half time snack, but not having the video of an opera performance you have been to. You have all the background details but not the main thing.
But as I say, there is no point in being morose about it. I wouldn’t have had a career at all if I had made a habit of stealing off with the lab books. I just regret that mobile phones with cameras weren’t invented back in the 80s so I could have kept a bit more of what I have worked on over the years.
But enough, of this introspection. On with the project….