Erik Clarke over at pleiotropy has a couple of nice posts on using Org mode as a lab notebook. The first post lays out his requirements for a digital lab notebook. As you can probably guess, these include
- Ease of use
By citations he means the ability to include BibTeX-like citations in the notebook and have the full citation included when the notebook is exported. Discoverability means that it should be easy for him or others to search the notebook to find entries on some desired topic.
The second post is the code and configuration data that he used to implement his notebook. It's straightforward and easy to understand and is therefore easily adapted to your particular needs. Clarke uses Papers, a research paper repository tool, and added a bit of
applescript to export his bibliography from Papers1. He also added a hook to automatically commit his notebook to version control whenever he saves it. That last step is an important part of the permanence requirement.
If you're in the sciences and the idea of an easily searchable and printable lab notebook is appealing to you, you'll want to take a look at these posts. Clarke's solution probably won't fit your needs exactly but his ideas constitute an excellent infrastructure for you to build your own solution on.
Papers is also available for Windows but I don't know what scripting ability it has there.