Report:Espacenet/Viewing Results/The Hit List
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Viewing Records in the Hit List
Espacenet shows family records as search hits, meaning that one record represents all related family publications. (To be more precise, the system groups documents into exclusive “simple families”, meaning each document in the family must share the exact same priority information with every other member.) This grouping feature means that family duplication in the results set will be reduced, but not totally eliminated: “extended” INPADOC family members (that are not also part of the same "simple" family) will stay separate in the results list. For more information about these definitions, see the Patent Families article.
Search results from Espacenet are displayed in a hit list showing only the first 500 hits from the data set. These records are sorted by date of upload into the database, with the most recently uploaded appearing first. If the list of results is less than 500, users can also sort the hit list by priority date, inventor name, applicant name, or ECLA code. This 500 record limitation is deliberate on the part of the EPO, to keep the system from competing with commercial providers.
At the top of the hit list page, a small icon appears next to the word “Compact.” Selecting this icon will shrink the size of the records. Using this feature increases the number of hits displayed per page: 30 compact records will fit on the page instead of the default 15 records in expanded view. Collapsing the hit list allows users to more efficiently scan it for relevant titles. In addition, because the export feature only works on one page of results at a time, "compacting" the results set allows users to export up to 30 documents. See the Export Functions section for more information.
At the top of the hit list, the page displays the search query and the approximate number of results that matched the query from within the selected database. According to an Espacenet quick help file, this number is shown as “approximate” because it is not fully calculated before the initial results are displayed. According to the help file, this number is usually higher than the actual hit count.
If the searcher wishes to modify the search query after reviewing the hit list, the bread crumb navigation links on the upper left of the screen will navigate back to the original search form (with query intact), and the search language can be edited by the user.
The hit list also contains features for users to mark and save references of interest. Each record in the hit list is shown next to a small star. Selecting one of these stars will copy the record into the "My patents" list as a saved hit; in addition, if the star is shaded red when the hit list loads, it indicates that the document is already present in the "My patents" list. For more information on this feature, see the Flagging Results section of this article.
The hit list now includes an RSS icon , located beside the title "Result list," which will create an RSS feed for the user that alerts them to any updates to the results list for that particular search. For more information about the RSS feed, visit the Alerts section of this article.
Keyword highlighting is now also available in Espacenet, and any search terms appearing in the hit list of results will be highlighted. The highlighting feature can also be used in the full-text searching of the claims and descriptions sections of EP documents if the user searches through the Advanced search in the field "Keyword(s) in full text."
As with the search forms, the hit list page also shows a list of Quick Help topics on the lower left side of the screen. These topics address concerns related to the system’s functionality and data content.
The keyword highlighting and the "compact" option in the Hit List are both useful features for quickly scanning through results for relevant documents. The RSS icon is also an important new tool for easily creating alerts for relevant searches.