Report:TotalPatent/Search Syntax/Allowed Operators/Truncation or Wildcard Operators
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Truncation or Wildcard Operators
TotalPatent offers two truncation operators, or wildcards, to assist in search construction. These are: the unlimited truncation operator (!) and the single character truncation (*). While the (!) operator must appear at the end of the word, the (*) may appear anywhere except the first character.
The single character truncation asterisk(*) may represent 0 or 1 character. According to the Help section on the LexisNexis website, "if you use asterisks at the end of a word, they do not all have to be filled, but may find up to the specified number of characters." For example, microencapsul**** will find the term “Microencapsulate” (3 characters at the end of the stem) or “Microencapsulated” (4 characters at the end of the stem), but it won't find "Microencapsulation" (over 4 characters at the end of the stem). The limitation is beneficial to both the searcher and the search provider, as it allows users to limit unwanted results while putting less computational strain on the search engine.
Two useful truncation features are missing from TotalPatent’s arsenal. First, left-truncation is not permitted within the database, which is a disadvantage, especially to some particular technology fields where prefixes are often used, such as the chemical and biological arts. This disadvantage, it should be noted, is shared by several other patent search systems. Secondly, a more minor omission is the lack of any grammatical stemming operator. Stemming operators pick up only word endings appropriate for the stem based on an English grammar dictionary. Because stemming is less easily defined than regular truncation, it is riskier to use during a search but may eliminate some false hits.
The TotalPatent user guide states that the system automatically picks up both singular and regular plural ending variations on words, as well as possessive versions. However, this assertion seems to be sometimes contradicted by the search engine’s behavior when a plural term is searched vs. a singular term, although it works fairly well for simple cases (flower vs. flowers) and even in more complicated cases (mouse vs. mice). To be safe, the user should carefully choose truncation operators when searching rather than rely on this assertion.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "LexisNexis® TotalPatent™ User Guide." LexisNexis website, https://www.lexisnexis.com/totalpatent/retrieveHelpManual.do?lang=EN (restricted). Accessed June 5, 2012.
- ↑ "Finding Variations of a Word." LexisNexis website, http://help.lexisnexis.com/tabula-rasa/totalpatent/wildcards_ref-reference?lbu=US&locale=en_US&audience=online. Accessed June 5, 2012.