Report:Thomson Innovation/Search Syntax/Allowed Operators/Boolean and Proximity Operators
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Boolean, Proximity, and Numeric Operators
Boolean and Proximity Operators
Innovation supports a number of useful proximity operators. The system allows proximity operators based on the distance by number of terms separating two keywords, and also offers operators that find words in the same paragraph. The function of these operators is consistent throughout the business and patent collections, but they do not retain their original functionality when used in the literature collection.
|Operator||Basic Definition||Differences In Patent Collections||Differences In Business Collections||Available in Native Language Japanese Search?||Differences In Literature Collections|
|SAME||Terms must be in the same paragraph, in any order (except for literature search)||(No differences in usage)||Yes||Works like AND, both terms must be present in any order. Used in address fields, finds terms in the same line of an address.|
|ADJ||Terms should be next to each other and in order specified||(No differences in usage)||Yes||Works like AND, both terms must be present in any order. Used in address fields, finds terms in the same line of an address.|
|ADJn||Terms should be within n words of each other and in the order specified||(No differences in usage)||No||Works like NEARn, finds records containing the specified terms within n number of words of each other in any order.|
|NEAR||Terms should be next to each other and in any order||(No differences in usage)||Yes||NEAR, NEAR0, NEAR1, and NEAR15 all find records that have up to 15 words between the searched words. NEAR2 through NEAR99 search for records containing the specified terms within 2-99 number of words of each other in any order. 99 is currently the upper limit allowed. The searched words can be found in any order.|
|NEARn||Terms should be within n words of each other and in any order||(No differences in usage)||No|
The system of course permits the major Boolean operators AND, NOT, and OR, which can be used in all collections (including the Native Japanese patent collection).
The inclusion of sentence and paragraph-based proximity operators is very desirable for most patent searchers to have in their arsenal of connectors. Although an empirical study of the benefits of these types of proximity operators is not known to the editor, in general most patent searchers believe the ability to recall keyword hits by their relation to each other in the context of document structure can improve accuracy, and reduce the number of false hits. Innovation offers the “SAME” operator, which searches for two words occurring within the same paragraph. Some users may wonder why Thomson has done away with the “WITH” operator for patent searching, which was offered in MicroPatent PatentWeb, and found words occurring within the same sentence in patent collections. This operator may have been discontinued to encourage users to rely on the NEAR and ADJ operators for more precision.
The Thomson Innovation help file gives the following explanation about the use of the WITH operator in the system:
The WITH operator is generally expected to operate within the boundaries of a text sentence and text sentence boundaries are not indexed in Thomson Innovation. So, because of this, we do not recommend using WITH in Thomson Innovation. When sentence boundaries are not indexed, WITH behaves identically to SAME which is recommended and supported for use in Thomson Innovation.
Note: Some data may retain the period with a double space that denotes a sentence to our search engine. So, if you do use WITH, your results may appear accurate. However, this does not occur consistently enough for WITH to be relied on. In fact, strings of multiple spaces in the data are routinely collapsed to single spaces
The default operator that will be placed between any two keyword terms in the same field (in most cases) is ADJ (users should remember that ADJ behaves like AND in literature searches (except within address fields)).* Therefore, a title search for (remote control) will perform a phrase search on “remote control”.
The default operator for keyword terms placed in two different text boxes in the fielded search form is “AND.” Both of these default settings can be changed from the Innovation Preferences page. For between fields, you can choose to use AND, OR, or NOT as your default. For within fields, you can choose to use AND, OR, or ADJ as your default.
*The exceptions are the Publication Number (PN) field and single occurrence per record code type fields (like the DWPI Assignee code) where it is not logical to have ADJ as the default operator because there will not be two occurrences in the same record. For these exceptions, the default is always OR (regardless of your preference settings).
NOT Operator Restrictions
According to the Thomson Innovation help file, the following restrictions apply to the use of the NOT operator:
- You cannot use NOT as an operator with the only search criteria entered. Your query must have at least one set of search criteria that is not excluded by the NOT operator.
- You cannot use NOT as the operator for the first search criteria entered. The first set of search criteria you enter cannot be excluded by the NOT operator.
The help file states that while query expressions are read from left to right, certain operators are processed before others. The following list shows the order of precedence in which operators are processed:
1 - ADJ, NEAR
2 - SAME
3 - AND, NOT
4 - OR
- = Equal to. Can be used for dates, numeric terms, and text.
- <> Not equal to. Can be used for dates and other numeric terms.
- > Greater than. Can be used for dates and other numeric terms.
- >= Greater than or equal to. Can be used for dates and other numeric terms.
- < Less than. Can be used for dates and other numeric terms.
- <= Less than or equal to. Can be used for dates and other numeric terms.
Note that when searching a date range, the dates must be specified in ascending order, e.g., >=20010101 <=20011231.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Search Fundamentals." Thomson Innovation website, http://www.thomsoninnovation.com/tip-innovation/support/help/search_fundamentals.htm. Accessed September 12, 2012.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Native Japanese Patent Searching." Thomson Innovation website, http://www.thomsoninnovation.com/tip-innovation/support/help/index.htm. Accessed September 12, 2012.