All for One and One For All: Collaborative Searching at SearchTeam.com

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false]  SearchTeam.com combines the best aspects of social media websites and the easy interface of Google to create a powerful new tool that could come in very handy to prior art searchers working on a group project.  A recent article at Information Today announced the July 12th launch of SearchTeam.com, a collaborative search site created by  Zakta.  I took a look at the website, and I can tell you two things I automatically liked about this new tool: it’s free and it’s got a lot of interesting features for both search and collaboration.

Read on to take a visual tour of SearchTeam.com and see some of its best features!

Your first step will be to create a free account on SearchTeam.com, or just sign on through a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google or Yahoo! account.  After signing on, users can get straight to searching and collaborating.   The main search form supports simple keyword searches, and a quick test search seems to show that capitalized Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) are supported by the search form (although allowable operators aren’t discussed in the help section or FAQ guide).  Users can create a new “SearchSpace” when they begin to conduct a search, or the user may include the query in a previously created SearchSpace.  Users can invite others to join a SearchSpace at any time.

Save search results and search terms in a SearchSpace.

After conducting a search, users can:

  • View previous search queries on the results page conducted by other SearchSpace members (as long as atleast one result was saved from that query).
  • View suggested terms for the search query, which usually appear on the results page directly under the search form (the example search below didn’t return any suggested terms).
  • View different types of search results, divided under seven tabs: All Sources, Web Sites, Videos, Images, Reference, Books and Articles, and Educational.  Many of the source types search through separate databases for results (check out the Intellogist Community report on SearchTeam.com for more information).  The Image search section may be particularly relevant to prior art searchers, since a thumbnail image is displayed in the list of search results.
  • Save or hide individual search results.  Search results can be saved into different folders within a SearchSpace.

The image search may be particularly useful for prior art searchers.

A SearchSpace can contain numerous folders, and each folder contains a list of saved and annotated search results.  The following actions can be applied to each saved result:

  • Add comments.
  • Add posts (up to 4,000 characters, with formatting options similar to Microsoft Word included in the text box).
  • Add a file (up to 10 MB).
  • Edit the title, URL, summary, and thumbnail image displayed with the result.
  • “Like” the result.
  • Move the result up or down the list.
  • Delete the result.

Add comments, links, posts, or files to saved results.

A bar on the right side of the site always displays the list of SearchSpace teammates, including whether they are on or offline.  Users can also choose to invite people to join the SearchSpace or view recent activity within this sidebar.  If more than one team member is online at one time, users can chat with online teammates through Team Chat.

See which search team members are online and view the latest activity in your SearchSpace.

So how can SearchTeam.com aid prior art searchers?  This tool can help searchers cultivate an annotated list of references, both patent and non-patent literature, by collaborating with colleagues.  Only free patent and non-patent literature databases are accessible through SearchTeam.com, so this tool should be used in conjunction with other subscription and non-subscription search systems.  New features and sources are still being added to SearchTeam.com, as described in the Information Today article, so this innovative tool can only get better.

Which search systems do you prefer to use for collaborative searching?  Do you know of any other free collaborative search   systems? Let us know 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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