Electronic – an Electronics Databook


So I'm reading through the Tab Electronics Guide to Understanding Electricity and Electronics, and I'm literally at the first few pages of the introduction and he mentions electronics databooks.

The author describes them as such:

The manufacturers and distributors of electronic components publish data books, containing cross-referencing information and individual component specifications. A few examples of such books are NTE Semiconductors, The GE Semiconductor Replacement Guide, and SK Replacement Cross-Reference Dictionary.

Your first project in the field of electronics is to obtain all all of the electronics data books that you can get your hands on … They are that essential.

After reading the whole section on this (about ~3 pages), I still don't really understand what they are, and why / if I need them.

Also, this book has a 2000 copyright… has anything changed (e.g., have these things gotten digitized and become free?)

Best Answer

A databook is a collection of datasheets, in printed book form, from a single manufacturer. Sometimes manufacturers would include application notes or white papers in the databook as well.

Back in "the day", engineers would have a large library of databooks. Around 1997 my library was made from six 6-foot bookshelves completely full of databooks-- that used all the wall space in the employee break room. Around the same time, manufacturer representatives and field-sales people from distributors would drive from customer to customer with their trunk full of databooks.

This was before the Internet was useful, and PDF's were commonplace. Databooks have been mostly obsoleted now, to the delight of field sales people and employees taking breaks everywhere.

Cookbooks are entirely different. They were almost always published by third parties, not the chip manufacturers themselves, and thus were mostly manufacturer agnostic. Cookbooks were more like application notes, while datasheets were more about formally documenting the manufacturers specifications.

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