Gray literature, such as technical reports, theses, and conference proceedings, may disclose technology relevant to a particular patent that makes this literature valuable prior art. During exhaustive prior art searches, professional patent searchers will try to locate this type of obscure non-patent literature (NPL) prior art through any means necessary, including on-site or catalog searches of libraries and using various document identifier numbers to track down the paper versions of these documents within the libraries. First, though, the patent searcher needs to search for and locate bibliographic data on relevant gray literature, which they can then locate in print format. It can be especially difficult to locate international gray literature published in a variety of languages.
Luckily for patent searchers, there are databases available like TEMA. TEMA® – Technology and Management is a bibliographic database focused on engineering and technology created by WTI-Frankfurt eG, which covers a variety of international non-patent literature documents. TEMA allows searchers to quickly search for and locate the bibliographic data on obscure NPL prior art, which can then be located in full-text print format.
After the jump, learn more about TEMA and how you can access the database!
What Types of Documents does TEMA Cover?
According to the Dialog Bluesheet on TEMA, the information in the database covers “German and international scientific and practical technical literature like journals, conference proceedings, reports, dissertations, as well as non-conventional literature.” The full TEMA file is made up of the following databases:
- DOMA® Mechanical and Plant Engineering
- ZDE Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Information Technology
- ENTEC Energy Technology, WEMA® Materials
- TOGA® Textile Technology
- MEDITEC Medical Engineering, Management and Organisation
The database contains abstracts in German and English, and searches can be conducted in either German or English. According to the STN database summary sheet on TEMA (PDF), the file contains more than 4.4 million records covering the date range of 1990 to the present, and the file is updated monthly. The Dialog Bluesheet states that the file covers the date range of 1989 to October 2010, and the file is no longer being updated on Dialog.
Where can I Access TEMA?
Users can access TEMA through a variety of subscription-based search platforms, including:
- Dialog – Search TEMA (File 95) through this command-line search platform. It appears from the Dialog Bluesheet that this file is no longer being updated, and coverage stops at October 2010 (the halt in updates to this file may be due to the fact that all Dialog users will soon be migrated to the new search platform ProQuest Dialog). See the full Dialog Bluesheet on TEMA to view a sample record and learn the field qualifiers and format options available for TEMA on Dialog.
- STN - Search the fully updated version of TEMA on this command-line search platform. The STN summary sheet states that the date coverage for TEMA is available up to the present, and the file is updated monthly. See the full STN database summary sheet on TEMA (PDF) to view available search and display field codes, formats, and a sample record.
- TecFinder - This platform is created by WTI-Frankfurt eG and appears to be a German/English interface with fielded search form options. Users can test TecFinder through the TecLearn Training File on the WTI website. Select the English flag icon in the upper right corner of the page to view an English-language version of the interface.
Users may conduct free searches within a test version of TEMA (only 150,000 records from the TecLearn Training File) through a simple search form on the WTI website, and users can then view the hit list and full record results from their test search on the TecFinder interface.
The TEMA database is an excellent source of non-traditional German NPL prior art, but this is just one of numerous bibliographic NPL databases available on a variety of platforms that help patent searchers locate obscure NPL prior art from all over the world.
Which bibliographic databases do you often use to locate relevant international NPL prior art? Let us know in the comments!
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.