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Keyword highlighting is a very useful feature of many patent search systems allowing users to easily find relevant parts of a patent document. With highlighting, users can scan and see clusters of certain colors together to quickly identify relevant sections of a selected document. Over on Intellogist, you can use the Quick Table Comparison feature to stack patent search systems against each other in many regards to find out which systems have keyword highlighting and which do not. Sometimes, however, the highlighting a given system offers may not be enough for the myriads of keywords, synonyms, and alternatives that crop up. That’s where Google Toolbar can help.
While some keyword highlighting systems are limited to a single color, most systems offer a few different colors of highlighting. The greater number of (distinct) colors offered, the better users can identify separate concepts in proximity to each other. Using Google Toolbar is one method in which users can easily add additional colors to their highlighting spectrum.
The following screenshots illustrate how highlighting through Google Toolbar works:
Update: To clarify, TotalPatent allows multiple colors of highlighting (as do several other systems), but occasionally users may want to use additional colors to cover even more terms. Using Google Toolbar is one way to accomplish this for extremely visually oriented searchers. For example, in a prior art search for a complex subject such as projectile and flight control, some possible terms of interest might be: descent, attitude, altitude, tilt, rotation, path, propulsion, roll, yaw, pitch, and angle. No single patent search system can give each of those terms its own color, so bringing in the additional colors of highlighting from Google Toolbar can help users visually see the inter-relationship between the terms.
Since Google Toolbar is free, easy to install, use, and uninstall, it’s worthwhile to try it out and see if the additional highlighting helps in your next prior art search.
What highlighting solutions do you use while searching? Let us know in the comments!
This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla.