Report:PatBase/Viewing Results/Saving Results
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Documents found through a PatBase search can be saved for later review and manipulation. These results are saved in “folders” which are specific to the user’s own login, but may also be shared across all user IDs within a company, including through PatBase Express. As of the May 2008 update, access to shared folders may now be limited to one or more user IDs. Records are automatically added to the open folder during browsing; records may also be added to closed folders without having to open them through either an icon in the menu above each record or through user-selected shortcuts.
Documents can be collected and added to a folder during the reviewing process. Selecting the “add to folder” icon from the record menu (or attempting to flag a document without an open folder; see the Flagging Results section) will prompt the user to choose or create a folder which will contain the saved documents. Once a folder is opened, the user may select the checkbox that appears on the right side of each record at any time during browsing, and that record will automatically be added to the open folder. Users can also create shortcuts to specific folders, which will display on all records in the hit list, by selecting the blue folder icon in the menu and adding (or deleting) shortcuts for selected folders. The user can then use the shortcut checkboxes to add the record to multiple folders simultaneously (see the Flagging Results section for more information on this feature).
One issue that came up while testing the shortcut feature was that if the user has added a folder shortcut and then adds the folder to the archives section, the user can no longer delete the folder shortcut, since the folder name won't show up in the shortcut menu when the blue folder icon is selected. The user must remove the folder from the archives section and place it back into the private folder list before the folder name will appear again in the shortcut menu, where they can now delete the shortcut.
(In other words, having an “open” folder does not mean that the user is browsing records inside the folder, but that the folder is open to having further records placed inside it. Record addition to the open folder is automatic, so the user does not have to go through the folder selection process each time. The folder shortcuts can also be added to automatically place a record in multiple folders simultaneously, even if some or all of the shortcut folders aren't currently open.)
It is also possible for users to add a reference to other private folders while a first folder is currently open. During review, the user may select the yellow box icon found on the far top right of the family record. Clicking this icon will open a pop-up list of other folders, and the reference may be added to any of them (without opening the folder, or closing the currently active folder) by selecting the desired folder name. Then the user may resume reviewing the search results by closing the pop-up window. The folder shortcuts also fulfill this function of assigning a record to multiple folders simultaneously, with the added benefit of not having to open a new pop-up window. Since only up to five shortcuts can be displayed at one time, the user will still need to use the yellow folder icon if they want to add the record to more than five folders simultaneously.
A saved folder offers all of the same functionality as a normal hit list in PatBase, with the addition of several features. One new feature is the ability to add user comments to the folder and to individual records. These annotations (“family notes”) can be created for any record in a folder, and saved for later export. Users can also add a "Folder description" within the folder hit list view, where they can add a text description and attach a saved search history to the folder. In addition, an advanced highlighting scheme may be applied to a folder, saved, and automatically re-applied when the folder is opened; the highlighting can even be exported into an html record of the full text. As of November 2010, the advanced highlighting feature for the folder was updated to reflect improvements to the main advanced highlighting tool, such as access to the highlighting tool through a highlighter icon in the floating tool bar. Another recent update, as of March 2011, is the ability to rank records within folders by selecting between zero and five stars to assign to the record. Users will see the stars on the main bar above each record in the folder hit list. The user can select the star ranking by clicking on the number of stars they'd like to highlight (or clearing all stars by selecting the star with an X over it). The user can then re-rank the folder hit list according to ranking, and ranking values can even be included when publishing or exporting folder results. These are all examples of the flexibility PatBase offers users: allowing user-defined content to be created and exported along with bibliographic and full-text data is an advantage of the system.
Searching can also be conducted within the folder’s contents. This is performed by using the “add to history” feature seen in the figure below in the folder hit list. The "add to history" feature is now also accessible from the folder tab on the floating toolbar and in the lists of private and shared folders. This function will add every family record back into the search history, so that the query can be modified with additional parameters or set as a search filter (for more information on search filters, see the Structured Search form section, earlier in this article). Many competitors do not offer a way to conduct searches within a saved results set (QPAT’s Patent Examiner is a notable exception), so this feature is also a major advantage to the system.
Note that users can also utilize the Snapshot or Visual Explorer tool on the hit list of records within a folder, which are discussed further in the Analyzing Results section. The "Publish Folder" option allows the user to send a link to a colleague via email so they can view the folder, including any Folder Descriptions and/or Family Notes.
Users can access lists of all private and shared folders by opening the Folder tab from the floating toolbar and selecting "My Saved Folders." Within the list of private folders, the user can choose to open an individual folder, add it as a query to search history, rename it, delete it, share it, or archive it. The "i" icon beside each folder name displays basic folder information, including the folder name, number of records, and date last modified.
The archive feature is a new tool added to PatBase in March 2011:
Archive any saved private folders, searches and search histories not currently required, in order to clean up list of saved items and speed up display. Select the 'archive' button now visible when displaying saved folders, histories or searches. Archived items can be reloaded to current list if required in future.
Users can select "View archived folders," accessible above and below the list of private folders, to view a pop-up menu listing all archived folders. The user can load the archived folder to return it to the list of private folders, or the user can choose to delete the folder permanently. As mentioned in the Editor's Note above, the folder must be in the main list of private folders for the shortcuts function to work correctly for that folder.
Folders can be merged or combined just like search statements, using Boolean operators. For example, if a user had reviewed the entire contents of folder 1 and had just run a new search string and placed the results in folder 2, she could save herself the trouble of having to see known records again by viewing the Merge Folders menu from the folder management page (located to the right of the private and shared folder lists), and selecting “folder 2” “NOT” “folder 1” from the dropdown options. The user would then name a “target folder” to contain the newly reduced results set – and both original folders would still exist, unharmed.
The May 2008 update brought some new features to the folders. As previously mentioned, access to shared folders can now be specified by user ID, allowing the user to let only some or all of their colleagues to view the shared folder. Further, folders can now be sorted by folder name or date by clicking on the header name. This feature is meant to make finding a specific folder easier.
Although the folder sorting option is a welcome change, there is a downside: each time an action is performed on a folder, the folders revert to being sorted alphabetically. This increases the time needed to find multiple folders to perform actions on each one, because the folders must be re-sorted again after each action.
In October 2009, these features were enhanced further in order to make PatBase a more collaborative tool. Users can now control permissions by defining specific groups of other users who may access a given folder, and can set access levels for the folder (read only vs. read/write access). Additionally, the service now allows users to share folders with others who do not have PatBase access. These access controls are set by selecting the "share" icon next to a saved folder. A copy of the folder will then appear in the "Shared Folder" list. The private and shared folder lists are located under a tabbed menu on the "my saved folder" page, so the user must select the "Shared" tab to view the list of shared folders. Non-administrators/non-owners will only see the options to open or add the shared folders to their search history. In parentheses beside each shared folder name is the current access level, which only the folder owner or an administrator can change.
To share a saved folder with others, users first select the "share" icon in the private folder list, which immediately places a copy of the folder into the company-wide "shared" folder list (the folder will still remain listed in the private folder list, too). Once this is done, the "owner" of the folder will then see a number of additional options to the right of the folder name. These will include the option to re-name the folder, the option to edit the access rights to the folder, and the ability to delete the folder.
When the folder owner selects the option to edit the access rights, a dialog window will open with options for various levels of access (read only vs. read write), and the option to define a specific group of users from a list of available PatBase account users. Users can also choose to share folders with PatBase Express users.
When the user selects the option to share with a specific group of users, the system will load the list of other available account owners (and any pre-defined groups). The user may then select all other account owners and groups that need permission to view the folder. Once the settings are saved, only those users will have access to the folder.
The User Group Management feature can be used to define pre-determined user groups in PatBase. If the same group of people within a company will regularly be gaining access to shared folders, it may be useful for one of these users to create a pre-set "group" using this tool, to save time when assigning access rights. The User Group Management tool may be accessed from the floating toolbar under Menu >> Group Management. The use can then select to "add new group." Once accessed, the dialog window is straightforward to use.