Notebooks should contain, beside the record of observations, descriptive notes. All records of weights should be placed upon the right-hand page, while that on the left is reserved for the notes, calculations of factors, or the amount of reagents required.
The neat and systematic arrangement of the records of analyses is of the first importance, and is an evidence of careful work and an excellent credential. Of two notebooks in which the results may be, in fact, of equal value as legal evidence, that one which is neatly arranged will carry with it greater weight.
All records should be dated, and all observations should be recorded at once in the notebook. The making of records upon loose paper is a practice to be deprecated, as is also that of copying original entries into a second notebook. The student should accustom himself to orderly entries at the time of observation. Several sample pages of systematic records are to be found in the Appendix. These are based upon experience; but other arrangements, if clear and orderly, may prove equally serviceable. The student is advised to follow the sample pages until he is in a position to plan out a system of his own.
The habit of carefully testing reagents, including distilled water, cannot be too early acquired or too constantly practiced; for, in spite of all reasonable precautionary measures, inferior chemicals will occasionally find their way into the stock room, or errors will be made in filling reagent bottles. The student should remember that while there may be others who share the responsibility for the purity of materials in the laboratory of an institution, the responsibility will later be one which he must individually assume.
The stoppers of reagent bottles should never be laid upon the desk, unless upon a clean watch-glass or paper. The neck and mouth of all such bottles should be kept scrupulously clean, and care taken that no confusion of stoppers occurs.
Wash-bottles for distilled water should be made from flasks of about 750 cc. capacity and be provided with gracefully bent tubes, which should not be too long. The jet should be connected with the tube entering the wash-bottle by a short piece of rubber tubing in such a way as to be flexible, and should deliver a stream about one millimeter in diameter. The neck of the flask may be wound with cord, or covered with wash-leather, for greater comfort when hot water is used. It is well to provide several small wash-bottles for liquids other than distilled water, which should invariably be clearly labeled.