Report:TotalPatent/Search Syntax/Allowed Operators/Boolean and Proximity Operators

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Boolean and Proximity Operators

When using the TotalPatent search form, the default connector between multiple search fields is the AND operator. It is also possible to use TotalPatent as a command-line interface, by entering search terms, field qualifiers and operators to form a search string.

Boolean operators may be used to join search terms in the TotalPatent command language. TotalPatent permits the use of the Boolean AND, OR and NOT operators. The NOT operator must be written “AND NOT” when used in TotalPatent.[1] The help section of the LexisNexis website warns that "If you include AND NOT in your search, it should be the last connector you use. Otherwise it may produce undesired results."[2]

In addition, a variety of proximity operators may be used within the command line box when searching TotalPatent. These are:[3][4][5][6][7]

Operator Definition Details
W/n (Within n Terms) Finds search terms that appear within n words of each other, where n is any integer up to 255.

Either word may appear first. Both words must appear in the same text field, within the patent to be found (for example, if one appears in the patent abstract and one in the description section, the search will not return that hit). When using multiple W/n operators in one query, if W/n operators have the same number, they operate from left to right. If they have different numbers, the smaller number operates first.

W/n connectors cannot be used in combination with other proximity connectors (e.g., W/s, W/p, etc.).

Approximate distances:

  • W/3-5 : same phrase
  • W/15: same sentence
  • W/50: same paragraph
W/p (Within Paragraph) Finds search terms that appear within the same paragraph. W/p connectors cannot be used in combination with other proximity connectors (e.g., W/n, PRE/n, etc.).
W/s (Within Sentence) Finds search terms that appear within the same sentence. W/s connectors cannot be used in combination with other proximity connectors (e.g., W/n, PRE/n, etc.).
NOT W/n (Within n Words) Finds documents in which the first search word is found. (The second word need not be in the document, but if it is, it cannot be within n words of the first word) NOT W/n connectors cannot be used in combination with other proximity connectors (e.g., W/n, PRE/n, etc.).
PRE/n (Preceded by n Words) Finds documents in which the first search word precedes the second by not more than the stated number of words. As with W/n, both words must be in the same field. PRE/n connectors cannot be used in combination with other proximity connectors (e.g., W/s, W/p, etc.).


According to the TotalPatent Manual, if your search contains a mixture of connectors, TotalPatent will process them in a specific order:[1]

  1. OR
  2. W/n, PRE/n, NOT W/n
  3. W/s
  4. W/p
  5. AND
  6. AND NOT


editors note iconEditor's Note:

Some of the proximity operators available within TotalPatent are unusual. The “within same sentence/paragraph” operators are not included in some comparable search engines, and many searchers find them particularly useful. In addition, the NOT W/n operator is unique among comparable tools, although searchers generally avoid NOT search logic because it can accidentally exclude desired results.


Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 "LexisNexis® TotalPatent™ User Guide." LexisNexis website, https://www.lexisnexis.com/totalpatent/retrieveHelpManual.do?lang=EN (restricted). Accessed June 6, 2012.
  2. "AND NOT Connector." LexisNexis website, http://help.lexisnexis.com/tabula-rasa/totalpatent/andnot_ref-reference?lbu=US&locale=en_US&audience=online. Accessed June 5, 2012.
  3. "W/n (Within n Terms) Connector." LexisNexis website, http://help.lexisnexis.com/tabula-rasa/totalpatent/within_ref-reference?lbu=US&locale=en_US&audience=online. Accessed June 5, 2012.
  4. "W/p (Within Paragraph) Connector." LexisNexis website, http://help.lexisnexis.com/tabula-rasa/totalpatent/withinpara_ref-reference?lbu=US&locale=en_US&audience=online. Accessed June 5, 2012.
  5. "W/s (Within Sentence) Connector." LexisNexis website, http://help.lexisnexis.com/tabula-rasa/totalpatent/withinsent_ref-reference?lbu=US&locale=en_US&audience=online. Accessed June 5, 2012.
  6. "NOT W/n (Within n Words) Connector." LexisNexis website, http://help.lexisnexis.com/tabula-rasa/totalpatent/notwithin_ref-reference?lbu=US&locale=en_US&audience=online. Accessed June 5, 2012.
  7. "PRE/n (Preceded by n Words) Connector." LexisNexis website, http://help.lexisnexis.com/tabula-rasa/totalpatent/precedes_ref-reference?lbu=US&locale=en_US&audience=online. Accessed June 5, 2012.
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