Free Online Courses for Database Searching

You don’t need to go back to grad school to learn how to search in patent and non-patent literature (NPL) databases.  In fact, many database vendors and producers are happy to teach you how to use their products for free.  Most database vendor websites offer a wide range of free educational resources, including user manuals for for database platforms, specific database information sheets, and even live or recorded online courses (sometimes called webinars or e-seminars).  I’ve watched a lot of these webinars, and I’ll highlight a few of my favorite webinar providers in this post.

Read on to learn about the free live and recorded webinars provided by IET, Dialog, and STN!

Live Training from IET

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is the producer of Inspec, a bibliographic database of  literature and patents related to the fields of physics, electronics, computing, mechanical engineering, control systems and business automation.  Inspec is available on a variety of platforms, including Dialog,  EBSCOhost, Engineering Village, and Inspec Direct.  Inspec offers online courses that “cover a short introduction to Inspec on a particular vendor platform.”  Upcoming sessions include “Inspec on Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge” (July 13), “Inspec on EBSCO” (July 20), and “Inspec on Ovid” (July 27).  I attended a webinar from IET on patent searching, and the hour-long presentation gave a great overview of general patent searching techniques, specifically in Inspec and on Dialog and ProQuest Dialog platforms.

Live Training from Dialog

Dialog produces a variety of database search products, including DialogClassic and Classic Web, Dialog Product Suite, DialogPRO, and the new ProQuest Dialog (which is still in the process of being released and updated).  Dialog provides live webinars  in multiple languages (English, French, German, and Italian) on search techniques in ProQuest Dialog and Developing Classic Dialog Search Expertise.  You  can view course schedules and register for upcoming courses by visiting the previously mentioned links.  I’ve attended multiple live webinars on searching in ProQuest Dialog, and the courses offer some useful general search tips while also highlighting the incredibly useful search features of the ProQuest Dialog portal.  The web meeting software (WebEx) can occasionally act glitchy, especially if you decide to listen to the webinar via headphones.  Luckily, the program hosts are incredibly helpful and patient when it comes to technical glitches, and they also will answer any questions asked by the course participants about searching on Dialog platforms.

Recorded Training from Dialog

Besides live courses, Dialog also offers “eLearning” resources, including:

Visit the Dialog Training page and look under the “eLearning” section to view all free online training resources created by Dialog.

A recorded presentation on ProQuest Dialog searching.

Live Training From STN

Live training courses for the STN search platform can be found on on two websites: the CAS website and the STN International website.  On the CAS site, users can visit the CAS Learning Solutions homepage, where they can find an event calender of all future online courses and open practice sessions.  Courses can run up to three hours , and “pre-work” documents are provided in PDF format, accessible through the course calender for download.  Users must register and create an account on the CAS Learning Solutions website in order to access these resources and register for courses.

Users can also register for e-Seminars via the STN International website.

Recorded Training from STN
Through the CAS website, users can watch pre-recorded e-seminars.  These presentations include both Power Point and audio.  The STN International site offers an archive of the PDF versions of Power Point presentations for past e-seminars.  Users can also view recorded e-seminars and search demonstrations through STN International.

A recorded search session in USGENE BLAST on STN.

Other Resources

Webinars are no replacement for formal continuing education courses on patent searching, but webinar participants still can benefit from reviewing search techniques and learning about the latest upgrades to important database search platforms.  The database vendors highlighted above are only a few examples of companies who offer free educational resources and webinars.  Do you know of any useful educational resources provided by database vendors?  Share your resources in the  comments!

Patent Searches from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

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2 Responses

  1. Information provided is helpful and explaining most of the points of database searching courses. Online courses provide quality and variety of courses and the best thing about it is we can earn education at any place at any time.

  2. Thank you for these great insights.

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