White Paper: Polymer Searching – An Achilles Heel of Information Specialists
Information searcher perform various types of searches on multiple sources/search platforms/databases to capture patent/scientific documents of interests. Some of the most common types of searches are based on keywords, author, assignee, inventor, patent classification codes (viz. IPC, CPC, USCLA, ECLA, FI/F terms, ICO codes), citations, chemical structure, and biological sequence. Mostly the information searcher formulates the search strategy by keeping in mind the type of information required, the technology domain of interest and his/her expertise and exposure on specific information retrieval tool.
When it comes to polymer searching, information retrieval creates almost a nightmare scenario. This can be ascribed to the fact that in polymer search projects, the use of routine search techniques (i.e. keyword or patent classification based searches) fail to deliver the expected results. By this, I mean that either you do not capture the relevant documents or you end with huge list of non-relevant documents successfully hiding the relevant documents of your interest. In most of the times, it is practically impossible to separate relevant documents from this bulky list of results. Optimizing a search strategy in terms of good precision and recall is a daunting task in the technology domain of polymer science. To conduct an effective and cost efficient polymer search, one needs to have good technical knowledge of chemistry/polymers science along with the thorough knowledge of databases and information tools.
This white paper is written with an aim to understand the complexities involved in the scientific information retrieval process in the domain of polymer technology and to briefly discuss the various tools/means used by the industry experts to perform polymer search projects.