Report:TotalPatent/Search History Interface/Managing Search Histories
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Managing Search Histories
Search strings and alerts are managed in TotalPatent under the “History & Alerts” tab that appears on the top of the screen. Within this area of the system, there are four sub-tabs: Recent Searches, Saved Searches, Alerts, and Download Manager (which was discussed in the previous section).
The Recent Searches tab
The Recent Searches tab contains a record of all search activity in the last 72 hours. Searches under this tab can be combined, saved, displayed in printable format, edited and re-run, set as an alert, or the results for the query can be analyzed. In addition to these functions, there are two additional commands next to each string, Run and View.
It is clear that choosing Run will re-execute the search, and choosing View will load the original results that were found during the first execution of the search. Since the searches are saved for 72 hours after execution, it may be useful to have the option to re-execute the search and view any new results, since some new results may be published during a 3-day period.
While TotalPatent will display the search terms, date of completion, project ID and the number of results for a given search query, it does not display the data sources over which the search was conducted. This omission could lead to a confusing list of search strategies: what appears to be the same query appears a number of different times, with varying numbers of search results, because it has been conducted over different patenting authorities. To view the entire text of a search query, the user must hover the mouse cursor over the query text. Note that the country collections that were searched are not displayed at all.
Users can now use the checkboxes to select any or all recent searches, and they can then choose the small paper icon to view a printable list of all selected queries. This list displays both the query and the country collections searched (as well as last run date, project ID, and number of results).
The option to select and print the full search queries (including country collections) under both recent and saved searches is an especially useful feature for prior art searchers, who need to document their search strategies and now have the option to print the full strategies directly.
Next to each search query, the View, Save, Edit, Analyze, Alert, and Run options are available. The Save option will place an individual query into a saved search folder. During this process, the user is asked to select a pre-existing folder, or to create and name a new folder in which to place the query. There is also the option to select a project ID associated with the search to allow professional searchers to track the time spent on a given search project.
Users select to analyze the results of one recent search by choosing the Analyze option beside an individual search listing, or the user can select multiple recent searches to add to the Analytics Platform. If multiple recent searches are selected simultaneously and the "Analyze" option is chosen, the user is given the option to re-name each recent search and go to the Analytics platform immediately to compare the results sets, or the user may just save the result sets to the Analytics platform for later use.
Finally, users may combine recent searches by selecting one or more searches via check box and choosing the Combine button in the top menu. The Edit and Alert options may be selected beside each individual recent search listing. More about the Combine, Edit, and Alert features will be discussed in the next sections.
The Saved Search tab
The Saved searches tab allows users to access their search history folders. Folders are user defined sub-directories into which one or more individual search strings may be placed to create a record of all search activity for a particular search project. All saved searches must be placed into a folder; if a folder does not yet exist for a new project, the user must create one before search strings may be saved. Saved searches are stored within their search folder permanently, and up to 1,000 individual searches may be saved per folder. A maximum of 100 Saved Search folders may be stored on each account. The figure below shows the Saved Search tab, with the saved search folders appearing on the left side of the screen.
Note that it is not possible to load the original hit list for a saved query; the string must be re-executed (the "Run" option) anytime the user wishes to view their results. Under the Saved Searches tab, an additional option, copy, appears in the list of actions (the Run, Edit, Analyze, and Alert options make up the rest of the list, which are also available under the Recent Searches tab). This option will duplicate a search string, so that the original query will remain while the copy may be edited to become a new query, allowing users to build off of the text of existing queries without having to rewrite them. Also under the Saved Searches tab, there is an option to “update results count” for a search string, refreshing the results count by running the query through the database, but not loading the search results. The updated count is useful for users who simply wish to check for any more relevant documents that may have appeared in the database since the last time the query was run. Since queries can stay in the Saved Search tab permanently, as opposed to only 72 hours in the Recent Searches tab, the option has more utility here as opposed to in the Recent Searches tab. Finally, it is possible to see the collections searched for any query in the Saved Searches tab by clicking the “View Search Query” option; it will load an html version of the query that will display any sources searched. "View Search Query" is not available in the Recent Searches tab, but the option to display a printable version of selected queries (including collections searched) is available under both the Recent Searches and Saved Searches tab. Under the Recent Searches tab, the user can also choose Edit to load a query in the search form; the collections searched will then be shown as checked on the search form.
Existing search history folders appear in the left-hand menu pane, which can be collapsed or expanded via a small icon at the top of the page. Users can open the contents of a folder by selecting it from this menu. New search history folders can be created at any time from this page, and existing folders may be renamed or deleted using the small icons that appear next to the folder names.
Queries within folders may be combined using the check boxes and the combine tool located at the top of the history. More about this function is discussed in Stacking Queries. Select individual or multiple saved search queries to delete or analyze the result sets (through the Delete and Analyze options at the top of the screen). Finally, users can select the "Add" option to go directly to the Advanced Search form to craft a new query. The user must select the "Save" option at the bottom of the search form to save the search. Otherwise, the query will just be run normally when the "Search" button is selected, and the search will only be listed under the Recent Searches tab.
Users can view a printable version of selected saved searches by choosing searches via check box and clicking the small paper icon at the top of the screen. The printable version of the saved searches include the search name, full query, collections searched, the result count, when the result count was last update, and the project ID for each selected search.
The first flaw in TotalPatent’s search history management tool is the omission of displaying the collection data that was searched for each string, although this issue is at least partially remedied by the option under both Recent and Saved Searches to view the printable version of selected queries (including collections searched). Accurate reporting of the patenting authorities covered during the search is essential to good patent search reporting. It is likely that, due to the very large number of patenting authorities covered by the tool, it was difficult to design a display format that would easily show the searched collections. The print display is a useful addition to the system that greatly alleviates this problem, since the searcher can now quickly and easily access a full version of multiple selected search queries under both the Recent Searches and Saved Searches tabs.
The second unnecessary obstacle present in the search history display is that the system unnecessarily truncates search strings wherever they are displayed. Observable in the Recent searches and Saved searches tabs, truncation also occurs on the results page, where the query text is displayed at the top of the page. The three figures below show an example of how long text strings are truncated and only partially displayed in the Recent Searches tab, the Saved Searches tab, and above the Results list.
Although it is possible to see the entire text string by hovering the cursor over the truncated string, an extra step is inefficient and probably unnecessary. The developers would be advised to find a way to incorporate longer strings into the search history while displaying the entire text.
It is cumbersome that, like other new search tools such as Thomson Innovation, TotalPatent approaches the search history by focusing on the individuality of each search string. By forcing users to save or discard their strings one at a time from the Recent Searches page, it is implied that search histories probably only contain a few important strings, when in actuality a good search history can contain dozens of test strings. In reality, searching is an iterative process, and many test strings can be run over the course of the search. These “extra” or test queries, even if they are not fully reviewed, are useful as part of the history because they show the evolution of the search strategy, and they should be included. Having to painstakingly save them one-by-one or lose them after 72 hours is an unnecessary burden on the user.
To TotalPatent’s credit, however, users have the ability to save a search query directly into a saved folder from the Advanced Search form page. New searches can be saved into a pre-existing folder, or they can be placed directly into a new folder, named right from the search form, thereby promoting efficiency.
- ↑ "LexisNexis® TotalPatent™ User Guide." LexisNexis website, https://www.lexisnexis.com/totalpatent/retrieveHelpManual.do?lang=EN (restricted). Accessed June 22, 2012.
- ↑ "How do I organize saved searches in folders?" LexisNexis website, http://help.lexisnexis.com/tabula-rasa/totalpatent/organizesavedsearches_hdi-task?lbu=US&locale=en_US&audience=online. Accessed June 27, 2012.