Report:VantagePoint/Importing Data/The Importing Process
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The Importing Process
VantagePoint can import three types of data (raw data files, database tables, and XML data), from the File drop-down menu, shown in the figure below.
Importing a Raw Data File or XML Data
There are two ways to import a raw data file: the Import Wizard, or the Classic Interface.
The first step when using the Import Wizard is to select the data file or files to import. A preview of the data will then display in the window.
The second step is to choose the Import Filter that corresponds to database from which the data was compiled. For example, if the data was exported as a .csv file from the PatBase search system, the Patbase-CSV filter would be selected. Each Import Filter, stored in a separate folder with VantagePoint, contains information about the various fields that are exported from each search system. In most cases, the system will highlight the filters that appear most appropriate to the data being imported.
Finally, users should select the fields they wish to import into VantagePoint. If a field contains no data in it, VantagePoint will alert users to that fact.
Importing raw data using the Classic Interface is essentially the same as importing XML data. In the Classic Interface, users select the data file to import from the screen pictured below.
The user then selects the appropriate Import Filter. Once a filter has been selected, users can pick the fields they will to import into VantagePoint.
When importing an XML file, the user first selects the XML data file they wish to use. If they select Let the application find a match, a window (the same as seen in the Classic Interface) appears allowing users to select the Import Filter and fields to import. If they select Specify a format, users can select from the previously used filters shown in the list on the screen.
Importing a Database Table
Importing through the Database Table is slightly different than importing a raw data file or XML file. The system can open a specific Microsoft Excel or Access file, connect to a database server directly, or specify a specific connection string.
Once the database or database file is found, a window asks what specific part of the database to use. For example, if an Excel document contains multiple worksheets, users should determine the worksheet to be used.
Finally, the system is typically able to determine the headers of the database and convert them into fields, but users can also customize the field names and types, which can be saved as a custom Import Filter.
VantagePoint can process thousands of records, but depending upon the type of data being imported, the system may take several minutes to import the data. The figure below shows a common warning message shown when users attempt to import large amounts of data.
For all types of data importing, users should take a small test data set and see if it will import into VantagePoint, before trying to import a much larger data set. This method saves time by pinpointing any issues without forcing the user to wait during the data uploading procedure. During testing, .xls and .xml gave the most trouble when trying to import data, with multiple error messages saying the data was invalid or that the system could not read the file. However an .xls file that was manually pre-cleaned to remove unwanted information was easily imported into VantagePoint. During testing, .csv files were the easiest to import, but that may not hold true for all users. Ultimately the reason for these errors was not completely clear. To maximize efficiency, users should find the data type that imports best into VantagePoint for them, and then consistently export data from their patent search system using that file type.
Also of note is the amount of computer system memory VantagePoint uses when running large data sets. If the user’s computer does not have enough RAM, processing can slow to a halt, and other open programs (beside VantagePoint) may not run correctly. When working with large data sets, users should close all unnecessary programs to get the best performance out of VantagePoint.