Report:QPAT/Customer Support/Online Help Features
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|As of January 1, 2013, both QPAT and PatentExaminer have been discontinued, and they have been replaced by the Orbit.com portal.|
Online Help Features
The primary online help source for QPAT is the PDF user guide, which can be opened at any time during a QPAT session by a link in the side menu. The help guide contains basic material on using the various system features, including screenshots. It also contains a quick reference guide to allowed operators.
A QPAT training manual is available from the “training” page, available via the system’s helpdesk. This manual contains most of the same content as the user guide, with a few extras, like an “exercises” section.
Users who wish to learn about in-depth command line searching, like field qualifiers specific to particular data files, must study the database fact sheets. These fact sheets are downloadable from the help desk page, and are tailored to online QWeb rather than QPAT users.
For any questions not answered by the online help materials, users can call the US or European help desks toll-free for live support.
The online help guide/training manuals are really intended to be getting-started tutorials. These materials leave many questions about database content unanswered, and provide very little troubleshooting guidance.
For example, in the brief section on command line searching, the user guide comments that it is useful for searching in fields that are not available on the search form. For detailed information on the searchable data fields present in the various data files, users are referred to the “fact sheets” available from the helpdesk page for each file. These fact sheets are written primarily for QWeb users, meaning that not all the information presented in them can be applied to QPAT. Users who wish to train themselves to use the command line may find these fact sheets useful, but as there is no overall summary of the field qualifiers that can be used in each data file, they will have to wade through them individually, which can be time consuming. The fact sheets are also revised periodically, but not always on a regular schedule.
The overall consequence of the online help materials is that any in-depth question or troubleshooting must be handled by calling or e-mailing the Questel-Orbit helpdesk. The upside to this is that the helpdesk staff is generally experienced, knowledgeable, and responsive. If users have questions during normal business hours, there is a good chance that someone will be available to help. The US toll free number is always answered by live technical support staff, and is usually open from 9 to 6, Eastern Standard Time.