Monday, 29 August 2016

Looking for something? Data search via DataSearch

We have been reading about media and information giant Elsevier's DataSearch engine. This tool which, according to its logo (below, left), is still at Beta level, is described in the Mendeley Blog as "the next step in making researchers’ lives easier".  DataSearch facilitates searches for a variety of research data spanning both domain-specific and cross-domain data repositories.

A swift visit to DataSearch leads one to the conclusion that it is almost too powerful: over-broad search terms will trawl copious quantities of results. For example a search under the term 'aquaculture' will retrieve nearly 9,000 results; getting on for 17,000 results for 'beer' [that's almost as many hits as for 'Elsevier' ...] and nearly 18,000 for 'prosthetics' [these are all topics on which Aistemos has posted patent analytics features: see our posts on aquaculture, beer and prosthetics].

Searches for fairly recently coined terms feature substantially less, because of the time-gap between a neologism being minted and its use in the literature; thus 'fintech' produces just six research results, 'blockchain' eight -- and the over 400 results for 'drone' deal more often with mall furry insects that go buzz than with unmanned aerial vehicles.

Once obtained, search results can be filtered by the following categories: image, tabular data, document, video, raw data, file set and slides.

The sources include both those that are owned by Elsevier, such as ScienceDirect, and freely accessible public sector materials such as PubMed Central, the US National Institutes of Health digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. There is however no apparent linkage to registers of patents, utility models, designs or trade marks.

It's good to see offerings like DataSearch.  IP analytics can go a very long way in depicting the relative strengths, weaknesses, geographical distribution and life expectation of IP portfolios -- but there may still remain a need to drill down and ferret out research results that deal with a specific technical issue, the physical properties of materials used in manufacture, and so on. And that is where devices like DataSearch, which can pinpoint that sort of information with precision, can be so valuable.

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