Report:TotalPatent/Search History Interface/Stacking Queries
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Stacking queries in TotalPatent can only be performed from both the Recent Searches and Saved Searches tabs. To combine queries from these pages, queries of interest must be selected via their checkboxes, and the Combine icon selected. A dialog box will then appear on the page, showing the two query numbers combined using the Boolean AND operator (the user can alter the search using parentheses and Boolean operators AND/OR/AND NOT). The user can also add additional search terms, connected via a Boolean operator chosen from a drop-down menu. The combined search menu also allows the user to select a project ID and (under the Saved Searches tab) select to save the combined search under a specific name.
The figures below shows this "combine searches" dialog pop-up window, under both the Recent Searches and Saved Searches tabs.
After combining searches under the Recent Searches tab, the combined query will appear as the full selected queries combined utilizing the chosen Boolean operators and any additional added terms. The new combined query statement will appear at the top of the Recent Searches list, and selecting to edit the combined query will simply take the user to the full combined query statement within the Advanced Search form. The "View" option is not available for combined queries under the Recent Searches tab.
Under the Saved Searches tab, combined query statement will have the annotation "(Combined Search)" noted in gray beside the search name, and the search terms will be listed as the selected search query numbers combined by Boolean operators, plus added terms (instead of the full selected queries, as displayed in the Recent Searches tab). If the user attempts to edit the combined search under Saved Searches, the Combine dialog window will appear so that the user can edit the current combined query.
There appears to be some problems with editing combined queries under the Saved Searches tab. Although the edit option is available for combined searches under the Saved Searches tab, multiple attempts to edit a combined search through the Combine dialog window (which appears after the "edit" option is selected) continually failed to produce an edited version of the search. Attempts to add new terms and to change the query numbers within the search both failed, and the search continued to appears as it originally did, even after the "save" option on the Combine dialog window was selected.
The editing process did work for another combined search under the Saved Searches tab during testing, when only a Boolean operator was changed. However, additional search terms were not able to be added to the second combined query during editing. Attempts to add additional terms through the "edit" option caused the system to freeze. It is unclear whether this is a temporary glitch or an ongoing problem with the system.
Combined queries can be deleted, but the component queries that make up the combined query cannot be deleted while the combined query contains the component query. A crossed-out trash icon will appear beside these component queries, as displayed in the figure below. Attempting to delete these queries will produce the following warning dialog:
One of the saved searches you selected is part of at least one combined search. You must delete it from all combined searches before deleting it as a stand-alone search.
Once the user selects the “Create” icon, the combined search will be placed at the top spot in the saved search history folder (and at the top of the Recent Searches list). The two individual searches that were used to create the combined search are unaffected and appear in the search history exactly as they did before.
Test searches indicate that when a component query is edited under the Saved Searches tab, the user must select the "update results count" option beside the main combined query to view the most current result number, since the combined query has changed due to the change to the component query. Any edits to the component queries under the Recent Searches tab (which automatically produce entirely new recent searches, instead of altering the results of the original search) do not affect the combined query, since the combined query is a combination of the original query statements and can only be edited to produce an entirely new recent query.
It is a useful improvement to the system that combining searches is now an option under the Recent Searches tab, since users no longer have to save all search queries that they want to combine.