When many people hear Book of Shadows they think of the think 300 year old tomes made famous in many Hollywood movies. The contain all the secrets of time and all the spells ever created. When a witch is in trouble, all she has to do is open up the book, and like magic, it opens to the page that has just the spell that they need to fix anything. They also think of the book that has helped witches defeat any number of demons and evil entities. Of course, as usual, Hollywood couldn't be farther from the truth.
In all actuality, all a Book of Shadows is simply a collection of all knowledge that a witch has gathered. It can contain things as simple as the redes and correspondences and go all the way up to conducting ritual and spells. It may be something that an individual witch keeps or it may be something kept by a coven or group that details their beliefs. When it comes to a personnel book of shadows, you can keep anything you want in it and organize it anyway you want. One thing is important to remember; there is no right or wrong way to do a Book of Shadows. NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS.
Along with what should be in a book of shadows another area that gets addressed many times is What should you use as a book of shadows. There seem to be two major thoughts on this topic. Either bound or binder. Personally, I prefer to use a binder due to the ease of moving pages around. Since my practice is always changing and I am one who always rearranges things, having a 3 ring binder is what works best for me. I do also have a few bound books that I use. I have one that I use as a working book to do research in. This way I can be sure that I have everything written the way I want it. I also have a bound book that I am working on to use as a "travel" book of shadows that I can easily take with me when I travel. While these books work great for me, it may not work for everyone else. What is important is to find out what works for you. If you feel that you need or want a big bound book, then do it. If you want something that you can move the pages around in go for it.
Another area of debate is hand written vs. typed. Again, if it works for you do it. If you hand writing is to messy to read, by all means type it. I actually have a combination of hand written and typed. No matter which way I do it, I feel that my energy still goes into it. The fact that I print it out on a printer instead of using ink and parchment, does not make it any less "special" or "magical" to me.
What is most important to always keep in mind is "What is important to me." If you go and buy a big fancy bound book, but have no connection with it, chances are you will not use it. Also, as I always think, what happens if I mess something up? What is less important is to stand with tradition, and what is important, is starting a tradition of your own. No matter how you decide to construct your book of shadows, think about what you want from it, what you want to put into it, and what you feel is right.