Report:IP.com/Viewing Results/The Hit List
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The Hit List
From its inception, IP.com Prior Art Database could be searched through the original subscription search interface designed for the product. In addition, in 2009 IP.com introduced the free Intellectual Property Library interface, which allows users to search the Prior Art Database alongside several free full text patent collections. Each of these search interfaces is described below.
The Subscription Hit List
The result list is ordered from the document with the highest relevance rank to that document with the lowest relevance rank. Each result is given a "Result Number" which is clearly displayed in the upper left portion of each entry. Information details that are presented with each document listing include: Relevancy Rank (from 1 to 5 stars), Title, Publication Date, Document ID number, Language, and either an Abbreviated abstract or the First Keyword in Context (depending on option chosen in search form).
Search Results are presented in a well organized and clearly presented list. However, one significant drawback of the result viewing in IP.com is the fact that there are no sorting or reordering options, whatsoever. The result list is presented in order of “relevance” and no alternatives for sorting or reordering are available. Many competing search tools offer the option to sort by publication date, company name, language, etc.
The screenshot below shows a single result record listing on IP.com and its components. The result listing uses colors and text formatting to produce a simple design. The title of the document is prominently displayed, along with other information such as relevancy rank, publication date, and more as discussed above.
The IP.com result list uses colors and formatting to present information and make the most relevant portions of the listing stand out. Results are listed ten records to a page, with easy-to-use navigation at the bottom of the page for advancing to the next page, previous page, or to the first or last page of results. Also displayed at the bottom of the result list is the search query used to produce the result set, any limiting filters applied, as well as three hyperlinks: "New search", "Modify this search", and "Search within current results."
- New Search: Clicking this link takes the user back to the blank Search Form.
- Modify this search: Returns user to search form containing original search terms and filters.
- Search within current results: Returns user to blank search form, allowing user to search within the current result set.
The IP.com Prior Art Database has a limit of 500 returned results. While this is an unfortunate limitation, it may not be as bad as it seems. A 500 result limit in a patent searching database with tens of millions of records would be unacceptable. However, this limit in the much smaller Prior Art Database may not be as unfavorable as it seems at first.
The Free Intellectual Property Library Hit List
The free search interface available from the IP.com Intellectual Property Library can search through the full text of the IP.com Prior Art Database, as well as through several patent collections not offered through the subscription interface. A screenshot of the hit list returned by this interface is shown below.
This hit list is notable because it seems to display more functionality that the subscription interface: hits in this interface may be sorted by relevancy score or publication date. In addition, filters may be applied to the hit list after the search has been completed to narrow the results set to a specified collection (if the search took place in both patent and literature collections) or to a specified date range. The "Modify Search" option can be used to return to the search form for further query editing.