Report:TotalPatent/Viewing Results/The Hit List
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The Hit List
After a search is run, the results are listed in a ‘Results’ tab within the tabs at the top of the interface. The search terms entered are listed at the top of the page. By default, the results of the search are presented in a list format with standard bibliographic information on the left hand side and a representative image on the right hand side of the page. However, there are three other layout options to choose from. The layout is selectable by choosing an icon at the top of the list. The options are:
- View results in a list format (default)
- View results one full document at a time
- View results in a list and full document view at the same time
- View the same document in dual views side-by-side
- View results in a list format (default)
On the results page, there are delivery icons in the upper left that allow the user to view, email, print, download, or file the selected documents to an online work folder (See Saving Results). It is easiest to use these features after selected documents have been checked or ‘tagged’.
Using the View icon to the left of the delivery icons allows the user to view a subset of the results. After tagging a selection of documents, clicking on this icon will then display only the documents that were tagged. At any time when viewing a subset of results, clicking on the red ‘View All’ button will restore the original result set.
The ‘Narrow Search’ box in the upper right can be used to search with the current result set. When a term is entered into the Narrow Search box, TotalPatent connects the original search query and the terms entered in the box with the AND operator. For example, if the initial search was dioxide and you use Narrow Search with the term carbon, you would get the same results back as if you originally searched dioxide AND carbon.
It is also possible to restrict by field and use connectors, wildcards and proximity operators within the narrow field. For example, if the initial search was Assignee(Apple), you could narrow with “title(mouse) and pub-date=>2006” to find Apple patent documents where the keyword mouse is in the title and the publication date is equal to or later than 2006.
When using the Narrow Search feature, the user’s search query is replaced by the a new query that combines the original search terms with the narrowing query terms through the connector AND. This means that where the "Search Terms" are displayed, or if View Search Query is selected, both the original query terms and the narrowing search terms will be shown, combined into a new query by AND. In addition, if the user clicks on Edit Search after using this feature, the form will be populated with the original query combined with the Narrow Search terms rather than just the original query. The original query can still be seen at any time by going to the Recent Searches page under the History & Alerts tab.
The results page also contains the following features of note, discussed briefly here:
- The 'Analyze' link will allow the user to select whether they want to go to the Analytics section of TotalPatent to visualize or compare the results, or if the user wants to save the results to Analytics for later use. See the Analyzing Results section of this report for more information.
- The Results page contains a ‘Purchase’ link which allows the user to purchase patent file histories or human translations from LexisNexis’ Reedfax service (see Document Delivery for more information).
- The ‘Citation Map’ link will initiate the TotalPatent citation visualization feature, which generates a Citation Map for a group of selected documents (see Viewing Citations for more information).
- When in List view, the ‘Show Term Hits’ option can be selected to show keyword term hits (with the terms highlighted) along with a few words of context for each result.
- Also when in List view, the data fields which are shown for each result can be changed by clicking the ‘Fields’ hyperlink in the upper-right hand corner of the interface.
One drawback to TotalPatent’s search capability is a 3,000 result limit on viewing results. If a search returns more than 3,000 results, the user is presented with this message (which the user can select to turn off and go directly to the results page to view the most recent 3,000 results):
Although only up to 3,000 results may be viewed, up to 20,000 results may be filed into a Work Folder.
The inability to view more than 3,000 results is somewhat of a limitation that some users may find to be an obstacle when conducting large-scale analysis projects despite the fact that up to 20,000 results may be placed directly into a saved Work Folder, bypassing this restriction. The lack of a user-defined highlighting feature (except for the automatic term highlighting provided by the 'Show Hit Terms' option) is also a glaring omission in TotalPatent when compared to its competitors such as MineSoft's PatBase and Thomson Innovation.
In addition to a Semantic Search feature, TotalPatent has also implemented a Semantic Ranking feature for search results. This feature will not perform additional searching outside of the current results set; instead, it will narrow the result set and re-rank search documents based on terms from a semantically-generated query cloud.
Entering a search term in the "Narrow Search" box and concurrently selecting the "Using Semantic Concepts" checkbox will generate a query cloud of suggested related terms, which will then be used to create a relevancy search query to narrow and re-rank the items in the results set. An important caveat when using this option is that it can cause a loss of hits from the results set. This is due to the fact that, as in the Semantic Search feature itself, at least one term will be designated as a required term (i.e. added to the search query using the Boolean operator AND), and all search results will be required to contain this term. If this term was not one of the required elements in the original search, running a Semantic Ranking function on a results set will actually result in the loss of hits which do not contain the required term selected by the Semantic Rank feature. In addition, all results present after a Semantic Ranking function is performed are required to contain not only the required term, but at least one other optional term from the query cloud. Users can change the relevance level of the required and optional terms (high (H), medium (M), or low (L) relevance) to alter the final ranking of the search results.
The system will automatically designate a term closely related to the original term entered in the Narrow Search form as the one required term selection in the query cloud to minimize the computational demands on the LexisNexis servers. Users can decrease the relevance level of this required term, add additional required terms, or substitute the default required term with another term. At least one required term must be included in the query.
For users who do not have a TotalPatent subscription that includes semantic search, there is a per-use cost associated with the semantic ranking feature. See Pricing Policy for more information.
TotalPatent's Semantic Ranking feature is one of the best of its type that the editors have seen in a search product. In theory, it provides an optimal way to review a massive results list, because the best use of an analyst's time is probably to see the most relevant references first. The hope is that by displaying the best references first, the needed information will be discovered more quickly and the overall search project timeline will be shortened. However, even in cases where the entire set of results must be reviewed, this feature could still have some benefit, as a greater percentage of relevant references might be seen and analyzed while the searcher's mind is still fresh.
Another useful application of the semantic ranking feature is that users can add their own terms into the query cloud manually, and control the weighting of each term. This allows the ranking system to become very sensitive. On the other hand, one downside of the tool is that there is an associated cost per use for those without subscriptions, so it may need to be used sparingly.