Report:Espacenet/Search Interface/The Search Forms/Quick Search
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The Quick Search interface is for novice users with basic keyword, inventor or assignee queries. The interface is simple: it contains only a single search bar for keyword entry. The form also prompts users to select the database to search (EP, WIPO, or Worldwide) and the type of search (“words in the title or abstract” vs. “persons or organizations” and "words in the full text of description and claims" for the EP database). A “Quick Help” list of topics, anticipating typical user questions, appears to the left of the search form.
A perusal of the quick help topics can lead to a better understanding of the form’s functionality. First, despite its simple appearance, the text search box can accommodate up to ten keyword terms, and will support Boolean operators; the default operator is “AND.” Additionally, selecting the “persons or organizations” option will run a search in both the inventor and applicant fields, a convenience to users who wish to search both fields at once. Finally, quotations may be used around an entry for precision retrieval, so that “Smith John” will recall patent documents with only that exact phrase, and not variations such as "John Smith."
The “Quick Help” topics also provide a range of useful hints to the searcher about how data is indexed in the system. For example, the topics include data formatting information (e.g. individual names are listed with the surname first), advice about how to search organization names (e.g. leave off terms like INC. or CORP), and instructions about omitting punctuation (e.g. hyphens or slashes), as punctuation is not indexed. Similar items of basic advice are provided throughout the website. Some of the system’s limitations are even explained in the help page on the topic.