Friday, March 03, 2006

DOE Launches Megasearch Initiative

According to a report in Federal Computer Week, the Energy Department's Office of Science and Technology Information is launching a new "megaportal" initiative called Global Discovery that will allow users to retrieve scientific and technical information from four existing portals, ", a portal with millions of pages of pre-publication research findings, a search engine for science conference proceedings and a database of international research on energy – by entering one query on one Web site."

The USPTO patent database is one of many government sci-tech resources that can be searched via the portal. Users may search it in tandem with other resources or select just the USPTO database. However, the search engine is crude at best. While retrieves keywords in patent titles with the same accuracy as the USPTO search engine--the title search "(pill or capsule) and (coating or film)" retrieves 10 patents. An identical search in the USPTO database retrieves the same 10 patents--it doesn't find data in some fields, such as current classification, and has difficulty with inventor and assignee names. Search results are limited to 50 hits. searches only the USPTO patent database and not the published applications database, which contains ~1.2 million documents or roughly 15 percent of all US patent documents.