Report:TotalPatent/Viewing Results/Citation Mapping
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The Citation Mapping feature in TotalPatent gives the user a visual representation of cited references in a patent or group of patents. The feature can be used to view the similarities between citations among a group of documents. The Citation Mapping feature uses Adobe Flash for a slick and dynamic interface. The user’s browser must have the Adobe Flash Player, version 9 or newer, installed for this feature to function.
When viewing search results, a citation map can be created by tagging the documents to be included in the citation map, then clicking the ‘Citation Map’ hyperlink near the top of the interface. A minimum of one document and a maximum of twenty must be selected, or “tagged,” before creating the Citation Map. The citation map will then be displayed, along with the original search terms near the top of the screen.
The document(s) originally selected by the user when creating the Citation Map are represented by green-colored boxes. When two or more of the selected documents have cited references in common, a gold-colored box will appear in the middle of the map, representing the shared references. More “peripheral” patents with a relationship to one selected patent show up as white boxes. The white and gold boxes may refer to multiple citations (i.e. "2 citations"), and the user can click on the box to view a full list of the related documents, with hyper-linked document numbers. Select the citation to open the record in a new window.
There is an option for turning the connecting lines (which are also color-coded, as illustrated in the Citation Mapping Key below) on or off, seen in the figure above at the top center of the map. Clicking the "Key” hyperlink in the upper-right hand corner of the Citation Map display will open up the Citation Map Key that explains what the different colored boxes and connecting lines represent.
When the cursor is held over any patent number, more information about that citation is displayed in a pop up information box and all citations unrelated to the selection are dimmed. See the following screenshot for an example:
For additional information, the user can select the patent box (for an individual patent) to view the full patent record in a separate window.
The citation map may be saved by clicking the ‘Save Map’ hyperlink in the upper right-hand corner of the window. After some processing, TotalPatent then inserts the ‘Key’ information into the bottom of the map and allows the user to save the map as a PNG image (Portable Network Graphics).
TotalPatent also provides a ‘Print Map’ hyperlink for sending the Map to a printer. Unfortunately, no additional print formatting options are available. TotalPatent simply prints an image that looks identical to the map when saved in PNG format.
Clicking the Close button from the Citation Map screen returns the user to the search results.
The citation viewing capabilities in text view mode seem simplistic when compared to features offered in competing products such as Minesoft PatBase and Thomson Innovation: users may only click forward or backward, without the ability to generate a new results set containing the entire set of forward or backward citations from a document of interest. This is a significant downside of the workflow efficiency of the tool.
The citation mapping tool is TotalPatent's advanced citation analysis feature. In a departure from similar tools offered by competitors, this tool is mostly used to show co-citation relationships in a group of patent documents, as opposed to most tools, which graph the forward and backward citations branching from a single patent document (although users can view a citation map for a single selected document on TotalPatent). Citation mapping offers a unique advantage when attempting to find the most heavily cited references by a group of patents; however, it is not very useful if one wishes to investigate the citations on a known document of particular interest, a more common need in patent searching. Creating a map for a single patent document does allow users to view lists of cited and citing document by selecting the "peripheral citation" boxes attached to the central green box, but the user could just as easily view these lists in the full record view.
Finally, one welcome addition to this tool would be more configuration options so that the user could customize the map to his or her liking.
- ↑ "How do I view a diagram of citations between patents?" LexisNexis website, http://help.lexisnexis.com/tabula-rasa/totalpatent/viewrelationshipdiagram_hdi-task?lbu=US&locale=en_US&audience=online. Accessed June 6, 2012.