Patent Searching: Necessity is the Mother of Invention, or Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force

If your research involves looking for patents, there are both subscription and free sources that you might find useful.  One of the subscription sources available through Rice Library is LexisNexis® Academic (LNA).  To complete a patent search in LNA, from the database’s main page open the “US Legal” section located along the left sidebar menu and click on the link labeled “Patents.”  The “Patents” search screen allows you to search by keywords and phrases anywhere in the patent or limit your search to patent number, applicant name, application number, assignee, inventor, or patent title.  Users may also limit the search to specific dates or date ranges and to specific patent sources, including both foreign and domestic patents.
One of the free sources which many patent hunters find useful is Google Patents.  For those serious researchers using this source, the “Advanced Patent Search” mode is recommended.  Here you are able to search by patent number, title, inventor, assignee, U.S. or international classification, document status, patent type, and issue or filing dates.
Perhaps one of the best free patent search engines is FreePatentsOnline.  Users of this site are encouraged to create their own free account to make use of its full functionality and to avoid much of the advertising that clutters the result lists if the user is not logged in.  The site provides multiple search methods, including both Quick and Expert modes for patent searches as well as a Chemical Search.  There are also a number of value-added features, including a University Patent search, a section on Design Patents, and lists of Most Popular Patenting Companies and Most Popular Patent Topics.  One of my favorite features is Patent Maps which shows graphically the patents that were awarded within specific geographic areas within the U.S.  Another is Crazy Patents which does indeed include a patent for an “Apparatus for facilitating the birth of a child by centrifugal force” along with several others including “Subliminal Glasses” and “Dog Nose Art.”  The site continues to add new features and functionality.  Most recently it has added the full text of thousands of articles drawn from over 150 research journals.  Those seeking a brief introduction to FreePatentsOnline might benefit from a tutorial developed by the MIT Libraries.  This tutorial along with three others related to patents are available here.

There are, of course, other useful sources for searching patent literature, including the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.  For an excellent summary comparison of the features available in four of the most popular of these sources, visit the MIT Libraries’ Patents LibGuide.
For assistance with these or other Rice Library resources or service, please contact the library’s Reference Desk at 812/464-1907.

Green From A-Z!

The library has just acquired a series of online, reference books perfect for an environment enthusiast. These guides from SAGE offer a user-friendly method for researching a wide variety of green topics.

In Green Food discover the differences among Locavores, Vegans, and Vegetarians.

What does NIMBY stand for? Find out in Green Politics.

Look into Green Cities to see which locations in the country and around the world are taking the largest initiatives to be eco-friendly.

Users can browse by subject or use a simple search box to look up topics.

There are currently 6 Green Guides in Rice Library’s collection with 6 more to come this summer. Try them out!

Green business: An A-to-Z guide

Green cities: An A-to-Z guide

Green consumerism: An A-to-Z guide

Green energy: An A-to-Z guide

Green food: An A-to-Z guide

Green politics: An A-to-Z guide

Want to Organize Your Research? You Can “Account” on Us!

Rice Library databases and the Online Catalog do more than just search indexed articles and catalogued books. For instance, did you know:

  • that with EBSCOHost, ProQuest, and JStor, you can set up accounts to save your articles and searches?
  • you can manage your Rice Library Catalog account anytime, anywhere online?
  • that articles, books, and other items held at libraries from all over Indiana and the United States are just a few clicks from being on their way to you?

If you are able to answer “yes” to all of the questions above, well done! You should hereby consider yourself an honorary librarian!

If your answer was “no” to any or all of the questions above, read on! (Read on anyway!) : )

Each of the above-mentioned database vendors provide their users with account-creating capabilities. Creating an account with each is free and takes just a few moments. Typically, the accounts ask for you to create a username, password, and provide some contact information. Once you have created an account, you can create research folders and/or save articles. Each database vendor offers their account capabilities a little differently, but all allow users to save articles.

Of course, if a user prefers not to create an account but still wants to take action on a number of articles found in a single session, they may do so by selecting each article according to the database procedure, then clicking on the print, email, or save icons from the saved “folder view” or “my research” link.  For additional information on ways to utilize EbscoHost for your research, please see the posting below entitled, “Oh, The Research You Can Do With EBSCOhost!”  You may also want to visit the EBSCOHost LibGuide.

If, like many of us, you have ever forgotten your due date for your library books and want to check what it is, or if you want to renew your items from home, you can do both. Here is how:

1. In the top-right corner of the Rice Library online catalog, click on “Login to your Library Account.”

2. Your ID is the 14 digits on the back of your Eagle Access Card, beginning with the numbers 292.

3. Type in your last name.

4. Click on the “My Account” tab.

5. From this page, you can review all the items you have checked out with Rice Library, plus renew any items not already overdue, modify your profile information and arrange any searching preferences you might have.

6. Like the databases above, users can, without logging in, print, export, and/or email selected titles searched in any given session.

Finally, we encourage you to sign up for an Interlibrary Loan account.  You may do so by locating the “Interlibrary Loan” drop-down menu on the Rice Library home page.  From the drop-down menu, click on “ILLiad Logon;” you use your MyUSI username and password.  Once you fill out a profile page, you are eligible to request articles not available in full text from our databases, and books not in the Rice Library collection.  This opens up literally every library in Indiana, and collections from all across the United States.  To learn more about Interlibrary Loan, please visit the Interlibrary Loan LibGuide and watch the brief tutorial.

Be sure to write your account user/password information down somewhere safe and handy, then visit your saved information anytime, anywhere, at your convenience. To learn more about these and other valuable resources, please visit our Research 101 LibGuide, or ask a Rice Library Reference Librarian.


New Titles Added to CREDO Reference Collection

The CREDO Reference collection continues to gain popularity among USI’s students and faculty as a good first stop for starting many research projects.  This collection also continues to grow by adding several new titles every few weeks.  Most recently the collection added five new works, including Encyclopedia of American Studies, Encyclopedia of Cremation, New Encyclopedia of the American West, and the OECD Factbook 2010:  Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics. The fifth reference book was Meet the Philosophers of Ancient Greece and was the database’s featured title of the month.  Here’s a description of its contents.

“Ancient Greece was the cradle of philosophy in the Western tradition.  Meet the Philosophers of Ancient Greece brings the thoughts and lives of the pioneers of Western philosophy down from their sometimes remote heights and introduces them to a modern audience.  Comprising essays written by internationally distinguished scholars in a lively and accessible style, this book presents the values, ideas, wisdom and arguments of the most significant thinkers from the world of ancient Greece.
“Commencing with Thales of Miletus and continuing to the end of the Ancient Period of philosophy by way of Heraclitus, Parmenides, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes, Epictetus this book explores the major contributions of each philosopher as well as looking at archaeological and historical sites where they lived, worked and thought.  This book is an outstanding introduction to the world of the philosophers of Ancient Greece.”

Doing Research at a Distance

Academic research has certainly been dramatically affected by online access to databases and digitized collections.  Even so, sometimes it becomes necessary for the serious researcher to travel geographically to a location where specialized or a larger quantity of resources are available.  For USI researchers this is much easier with the Academic Libraries of Indiana’s (ALI) Reciprocal Borrowing Program.  The program was established to promote, enhance, and facilitate research, teaching, and learning in Indiana academic institutions.  Academic libraries participating in the program agree to extend in-person borrowing privileges to faculty, staff, and students of member institutions.  To participate, the borrower needs a signed ALI Borrowers Card form the home institution library, campus identification, and a photo ID with a current address.  The ALI Borrowers Card may be acquired from Rice Library’s Checkout Counter.  There are certain limitations to the program, and the borrower is subject to the rules and regulations of the lending library.  For a complete description of the program along with a link to a printable application form, click here.  Materials borrowed from participating Indiana academic libraries may be dropped off at Rice Library’s Checkout Counter for return to the lending library.  For questions concerning the program, please contact Rice Library’s Checkout Counter at 812/464-1913.