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Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Guide

Parts & Specs

Application Notes & Engineering Data Sheets

A datasheet, data sheet, or spec sheet is a document summarizing the performance and other technical characteristics of a product, machine, electronic component, material, a subsystem (e.g. a power supply) or software in sufficient detail to be used by a design engineer to integrate the component into a system.

An application note is a document that gives more specific details on using a component in a specific application, or relating to a particular process, e.g. the physical assembly of a product containing the component. Application notes are especially useful for giving guidance on more unusual uses of a particular component, which would be irrelevant to many readers of the more widely read datasheet. Application notes may either be appended to a datasheet, or presented as a separate document.

Application notes and data sheets are not usually indexed in the article databases like Web of Science or Inspec. Google (not Google Scholar) is good place to look for them. Try searching  ["company name" AND application notes]. Below are some useful application note sources.

Selected Sources for Application Notes

  • is a free online datasheet source for electronic components and semiconductors
  • EEWeb App Notes
  • The online journal Nature Methods has an Application Notes section on its website. The notes here focus on the bioinformatics/genomics fields. These application notes are non-peer reviewed content submitted by product suppliers.

Other UCSC Library Resources

Material Safety Data Sheets & Protocols

A material safety data sheet (MSDS), safety data sheet (SDS), or product safety data sheet (PSDS)  is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with the specific material or substance in a safe manner, and includes information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures.

Selected MSDS sources:

  • UCSC Environmental Health & Safety MSDS page.
  • UC Berkeley list of MSDS resources
  • Toxnet - Toxicology data network from the National Library of Medicine. Databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.

Protocols in the Natural Sciences

In the natural sciences a protocol is a predefined written procedural method in the design and implementation of experiments. Protocols are written whenever it is desirable to standardize a laboratory method to ensure successful replication of results by others in the same laboratory or by other laboratories.

For sources of protocols, see the Protocols tab above in this guide.