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PatBase offers a number of unique bells and whistles to aid searchers in identifying search terms and reviewing results. These include:
Dictionary – PatBase offers a Wiktionary dictionary function right from the search history page (under the "Search Tools" section in the side menu). A search field will appear when the user selects the "Dictionary" link, and typing a word into the search field will pull up a definition provided by http://www.wiktionary.org/. The tool can also be used to translate keywords across languages, including non-Latin languages like Chinese and Japanese.
As with any wiki, the content of this dictionary is changeable by users, so this source should not be regarded as totally authoritative. However, users may feel it is convenient to have the resource at their fingertips. One disadvantage: it is only available from the search history page and not from the Display results page, so it cannot quickly be used to check the meaning of words found within search hits.
Thesaurus – in addition to the dictionary, PatBase offers a thesaurus lookup function to help users find additional synonyms to use in a keyword search. It is only accessible under the "Search Tools" section in the side menu of the search history page. It no longer appears to be available directly from the advanced highlighting dialog window.
Index Browsing- As previously discussed in the Structured Search form section, PatBase contains a unique and useful tool accessible through the main menu or simple search form, known as the “Browse Index” tool. In a nutshell, the tool is used to identify possible accidental variants of a desired datapoint within the PatBase collection, minimizing the chance that a key reference will be missed by a search query because its associated bibliographic or even full-text data is erroneous, or non-standardized, as entered in the system.
The Browse Index page presents various tabs along the top of the screen, representing the various data fields that can be browsed using the tool: Assignee, Inventor, IC8-9 (International Class, versions 8-9), IC (International Class), EC (European/ECLA class), UC (US class), Priority (priority number), Application (Application Number), and Patent (Patent Number). The “Text” tab, which could be used to input a search term that was then matched against the entire index of words that appeared in PatBase’s full text collection, no longer appears to be available. Index entries for browsing can be displayed in sets of 10, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, or 2000. The larger number of terms to display can result in a longer wait time.
This feature can help users identify misspellings or variations of assignee/inventor search terms, and also can help the user to understand what false hits may be pulled up by too-generous truncation (especially relevant to inventor/assignee names).
For a good example of the utility of this feature: consider an instance where a searcher needed to find documents originally assigned to the “Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co.” In addition to the current company name “3M,” the searcher wants to include the older company name in the search, but is concerned about potential spelling errors possibly having been introduced by sloppy indexing procedures at the patent office.
The searcher could choose to look up all unique database records for the company starting with the letters “Minnes”. In response, the Browse Index tool will generate the following list of entries (including both standardized and non-standardized assignee fields):
Given that this list contains so many inaccurate spellings of the company name, the searcher may be curious as to whether there are also some spelling errors that leave out one of the two “n”s in the beginning part of the word “Minnesota.” So the searcher types “Mineso” into the browse index field, where the following set of entries occur (including entries from both standardized and non-standardized assignee fields):
The searcher has seen enough to realize that searching for “Minnesota* and Mining” in the assignee field may not bring up documents that have spelling errors in their bibliographic data, and that there may be a significant number of these documents. In addition to carefully constructing the search query so that multiple variations on the name are included, the searcher may choose to load all of these names into the search field automatically to run a query on them. Thus, the browse index feature can help identify references that might slip between the cracks due to an incorrect bibliographic data entry.
Number Format by Country Code Lookup - PatBase also offers this lookup feature under “Patent Number Formats” bar between the Dictionary and Thesaurus options from the side menu on the search history page. This feature allows the user to quickly review number formats and kind codes used for the patenting authority in question. In the figure below, the feature was used to look up Brazilian (BR) patent kind codes.
E-mailing Records - If a user comes across an interesting record during the search, it may be e-mailed directly to a colleague with access to PatBase by clicking the envelope icon at the top of the family record. A link will be sent to the user-defined recipients’ e-mail address(es) which will be active for up to two weeks from send date.
Exportable User-Defined Content - There are three kinds of user-created annotations that can be exported from PatBase along with database records: User annotations (called “family notes”), ranking of family records, and advanced-highlighting. Users can create family notes to remain associated with any saved record, and when data export occurs, these notes become a selectable data field for export. Records in a folder can be ranked between 0-5 stars, and this ranking information can also be exported. This means that users can retain notations and rankings made while searching and export them along with other data fields for manipulation in other programs (e.g., users could rank located records by tier or utilizing the family ranking feature and export this data into a spreadsheet – graphical analysis by tier could then be performed after a .xls export into Excel).
In addition, users can define and save advanced highlighting for records within a saved results folder. This highlighting will be preserved during the bibliographic data export into an HTML, PDF, or Word document. The screenshot below shows user-defined highlighting that was successfully retained after exporting the data into a Word document.
Syntax Checker - As of July 2011, the Syntax Checker "is available whenever a user receives the error message 'parentheses do not balance' to aid in modifying brackets to correct the search query."  The user can select the "Check syntax" button if the error message "parentheses do not balance" appears above the search form, and the syntax checker will highlight in red the parentheses that don't balance within the query.
Classification Explorer - As of November 2010, a link to the Classification Explorer window is accessible in the View, Browse, and Hit views for every family record, and the window displays a tabbed table containing "an overview of the structure and definitions of classifications applied to a family across the IPC, ECLA, UC and JCT classification schemes." The user can select the "Classification Explorer" link located right beside the "Classifications" heading in the family record display, and the resulting window will display a tab for each classification scheme (IPC, ECLA, UC, and JCT), with relevant classification codes and definitions organized in a hierarchical manner.