Patent research is one of more obscure things one can do. It is hard enough to determine whether there is a US patent for a given invention, and today's globalized world often requires looking at international patents as well. Where to begin? One place to start is this week's Guide of the Week from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki:
Patent and Trademark Information (Univ. of California--Berkeley, 1999) Last updated 2/9/2007
This guide is divided into the following sections:
- Pre-1872 Patent Information
- Foreign and International Patent Information
- Other Patent Collections
- Bibliography of Patent & Trademark Sources
- CD-ROM Sources
- Internet Sources
- Step by Step Patent Research
They use a mix of print and electronic resources with varying date coverage. A small set of the resources they highlight include:
- Japan Patent Office: A searchable database of Japanese patent abstracts, which includes the patent number, title, inventor, company, and abstract of the patent.
- Foreign patents: a guide to official patent literature by Francis J. Kase. 1972.
- Code of Federal Regulations, Title 37: Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights.
- Finding List for United States Patent, Design, Trademark, Reissue, Label, Print, and Plant Patent Numbers. - Gives the volume number of the Official Gazette in which a given patent number will be found for the years 1872-1993. Includes information on earlier patents.
- Google Patent Search - Access over 7 million patents from 1790-2006. Does not currently include patent applications, international patents, or U.S. patents issued over the last few months. Includes tips for advanced patent searching.
Finally, since the librarians at Berkeley realize that no one has all the answers, they end with links to several other helpful patent searching guides:
- Searching for pre-1976 U.S. patents via University of Maine
- Patent Search Tutorial and Information via University of Texas
- The 7-Step Strategy via the U.S. Patent Office
- U.S. Patent Searching via Oregon State University
The ALA GODORT Handout Exchange has librarian-produced guides using resources from every level of government, from international to local. Today's guide is a case in point:
Official Links for Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County (Mary Finley, California State University-Northridge, 2008)
This guide is broken up into six sections:
- Official Links: City of Los Angeles - Los Angeles County
- Directories and Guides: Services & Help - Business Assistance - Transportation - Education & Culture
- L. A. City/County Statistics & Facts: Economic/Demographic - Crime - Environment - Education - Health - Other - Budgets
- Election Issues & Results
- Politicians: Who represents you? - Contact the politicians - Lobbyists and Campaign Contributions
- Local Codes and Regulations
I am particularly impressed with the "statistics and facts" section as it draws Los Angeles related information from several levels of government. Sources here include:
- American FactFinder (Census Bureau)
- Airport Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data (Federal Aviation Administration) - Reports include data on several Los Angeles area airports.
- California Department of Finance - Site includes demographic as well as financial and economic data.
- Residential Vacancy Data (City of Los Angeles Housing Dept.)
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services Statistics - Statistical reports, caseload characteristics, and various research reports about social assistance programs and welfare reform from the Research, Evaluation and Quality Assurance Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services.
When you take all of the linked resources together, there are dozens of them. So if you have any interest in Los Angeles or large urban areas, go check out Mary Finley's guide.
Are you a librarian with a guide to local government information? Then post a link to the Handout Exchange. Don't know of a guide to your area? Then go create one. Your patrons and your peers will thank you.
For historic background and access to current foreign policy information, try this week's "Guide of the Week" from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki:
Government Documents on U.S. Foreign Policy (Bert Chapman, Purdue University, 1999) Last updated 3/10/2008
Bert truly starts his guide at the beginning with The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.) and moves on to such current resources such as:
- Foreign Consular Offices in the U.S.
- United States Contributions to International Organizations
- Legislation on Foreign Relations Through (year)
- Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba
- European Union "Common" Foreign and Security Policy
If you want a quick way to find International Government Organizations or their publications, start with today's Guide of the Week from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki:
International Documents Collection (Northwestern University Library, for the GODORT International Documents Task Force, 2008)
Northwestern is attempting to keep a comprehensive list of International Government Organizations (IGO) that maintain a web presence.
They currently list many IGOs from the African Development Bank to the World Tourism Organization (WTO). To facilitate access to the publications and other IGO information, the guide maintains a Google Custom Search Engine.
Northwestern staff use the following criteria to add IGOs to their list:
Criteria used to maintain the Northwestern University Library IGO list:
- The primary audience for the site is the Northwestern University community.
- The international organizations included in the list are intergovernmental organizations (IGOs).
- International Documents staff intend the list to be comprehensive. They include all the IGOs of which they are aware. However, an IGO must have a web page to be included in the list. If any person recommends an IGO to add to the list, staff add it to the list.
- The list links to sites in English, when available.
- In general, the list links only to the main page (i.e. welcome or home page) of the IGO's web site. The list links to web pages that are located within an IGOs web site if:
- it is the web page of the IGO's statistical division or statistical publications.
- it is the web page of the IGO's publications, if there are a substantial number of full-text publications available there.
- it is a web page that is often used.
- it is a web page which had been used by staff or a patron as a source of information, but which is extremely difficult to locate using the site's navigation functions.
- If you have any questions or suggestions please email them to mailto:email@example.com.
While I think this guide would be even stronger with either a one or two sentence annotation next to each organization or a link to the organization's about page, the comprehensiveness of the list makes it worth visiting. Check it out. And if you're a librarian with a handout or guide of your own, please post it to the Handout Exchange!
Today's Guide of the Week from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki is for people wanting history and background relating to the US intelligence community:
U.S. Intelligence Community (Jerry Breeze, Columbia University, 1999) Last updated 1/29/2008
This guide starts out with an introduction worth quoting:
This is a selective guide to resources at Columbia University Libraries and on the Internet, for conducting research on U.S. government agencies involved in intelligence activities, the classification and declassification of government documents related to intelligence activities, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Some of the items included may also have information about commercial espionage or intelligence activities of foreign governments, but that is not the focus of this guide. Please consult CLIO [Columbia's catalog] for other materials in the Columbia University Libraries.
For a selective guide, it is chock full of print and internet resources relating to the intelligence community. The guide contains links to secondary and primary intelligence materials and is divided into the following sections:
- Background Information
- Bibliographies & Indexes
- Intelligence Reform
- Congressional Oversight & Budget
- FOIA (Freedom of Information Act)
- Other Web Sources
- Agency Specific
- Office of the Director of National Intelligence
- Central Intelligence Agency
- Defense Intelligence Agency
- Department of Energy
- Department of State
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- National Reconnaissance Office
- National Security Agency
- National Security Council
- Other Agencies
One feature I particularly like about this guide that I hope others emulate is the clear way the author distinguishes resources only available to the campus community. Anything with a key next to it can only be accessed by the Columbia University community. But that still leaves dozens and dozens of other resources for the rest of us to explore. If you have an interest in spies or foreign relations, check out this guide.
And if you're a librarian with a guide of your own on this or any other subject, please link it to the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki.
With the release of President Obama's budget this week, I wanted to draw your attention to a "Guide of the Week" I did last July:
Jerry Breeze's guide hasn't been updated for FY 2010, but I assume it will be when more FY 2010 budget docs are released. As is, it's really good background for people who are just starting to pay attention to the federal budget.
With President Obama's recent decision to send as many as 17,000 additional US soldiers to Afghanistan, it is a good time to highlight one of the excellent country guides posted by the UC Boulder Government Publications Library to the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki:
Afghanistan: Country Guide (University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library, 2008)
This guide starts off with official Afghanistan Government websites, which includes English language links to a number of ministries, including the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and the Prime Minister's office.
The guide moves on to a number of third party overviews of Afghanistan. These include profiles written by members of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, as well as those from non-combatant countries such as India. Looks at Afghanistan from international organizations are also provided.
After the general country profile section, the guide links to a number of databases that contain reports and other documents on Afghanistan, including declassified documents from the CIA. Then the guide links to specific resources in diplomacy, health, and military operations. It concludes with tips on searching for Afghanistan related materials in the UCB catalog.
This would be an excellent resource for the team the President has appointed to review conditions and policy in Afghanistan. And good for the rest of us to review as well. Please have a look. If you find it interesting or helpful, tell at least two friends.
And if you're a docs librarian with a guide to Afghanistan or other other topic, please link it to the Handout Exchange.
After a 13 week stint of covering how librarian-produced information guides could help inform President Obama, the Congress and the general public on the General Accountability Office's 13 Urgent Transition issues, we return to our regular format of one guide per week.
In honor of Valentine's day, we highlight the one handout in the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange with the word "Love" in the the title:
Documents Librarianship: Love at First Sight, Powerpoint file (Grace York, University of Michigan, 2002) Creative Commons License - may be reused or altered with attribution to creator.
This 2002 powerpoint presentation is an introduction to documents librarianship for non-specialists. I think it does a great job of highlighting the great breadth of government information in people's lives. Grace shows how government documents eventually touch anyone you can think of - workers, family members, students, business owners and so on.
The slides also document challenges and trends in documents librarianship and in particular the challenges and opportunities facing Federal Depository Libraries (FDLs). While the FDL stats Grace used are dated, they could quickly be brought up to date for a presentation on government documents.
Despite being seven years old, this powerpoint still stands as a handy intro to the world of US government information. Check it out. Then, if you're a documents librarian, bring it up to date, give Grace York proper credit for the original and link the resulting product back to the Handout Exchange.
President Obama has been President a few weeks. On Guide of the Week we come to the last of the 13 urgent issues facing President Obama and the new Congress.
The Government Accountability Office recently identified Defense Readiness as one of 13 urgent issues facing the next President and Congress. Today on Guide of the Week, we'll talk about a librarian produced guide from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki that can help inform citizens, Congress and President-Elect Obama on this issue.
After searching through the Handout Exchange, the only guide that really seems helpful is the University of Colorado at Boulder's guide, Military Information Resources and Periodicals.
The folks at UC Boulder link to several resources that should be of use to people studying military readiness and its possible improvement, including:
- Annual Defense Report - "Annual Report to the President and the Congress, commonly referred to as the Annual Defense Report, details how the Department of Defense built its capabilities and is working to maintain them in the future. In addition to fulfilling a statutory requirement, specifically U.S.C. Title 10, the Secretary of Defense's Annual Defense Report is widely distributed and serves as a basic reference document for those interested in national defense issues and programs."
- Federation of American Scientists Military Analysis Network - This group is a privately-funded, non-profit organization "engaged in analysis and advocacy on science, technology, and public policy for global security". The federation provides extensive information on U.S. military operations, aircraft, Navy ships, land warfare systems, missiles, smart weapons, dumb bombs, aircraft and naval equipment, and a directory of defense contractors. In addition, it provides analysis of significant issues, such as NATO expansion, and an extensive collection of Congressional material, such as budgets and GAO and CRS reports. The site also provides extensive information on military aircraft, ships, land warfare, and missile technologies in the "Rest of the World (ROW)".
Having shown you what librarians were able to contribute to understanding GAO's 13 critical issues, we will return to the regular "Guide of the Week" format next week where we will explore a single librarian produced information guide. If you want your guide highlighted for our FGI audience, then go put it up on the ALA GODORT Exchange Wiki.
Sad to say, for the second time during this Guide of the Week: Transition Edition, I've come up empty. While the General Accountability Office identified the Transition to Digital Television as one of 13 critical transition issues, there appears to be no librarian-produced guides linked to ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki to inform people about this issue. If you know of one, please post it to the Handout Exchange.
As a consolation prize, it turns out that the phrase "Digital Television Transition" is a good way to kick the tires on the public beta of GPO's new FDSys at http://fdsys.gpo.gov. Type in the words without quotes and you'll get 2,654 results. That seems too many to look at once? Then use the "narrow your search" options in the left hand column. You might start with "congressional hearlings (761)" That brings you a new list of "narrow your search" options. From there you might choose "House appropriations committee (81)" After that, try clicking on "see more" under "keywords." Try clicking on "public broadcasting" and you'll find four hearings. The search results contain snippets with your search terms and come from several different congresses.
As long as I'm talking about FDSys, I want to say THANKS to GPO for including "find in a library" links that are equal in effectiveness to their "purchase this item" links.
Next week I'll be dealing with librarian produced guides relating to "Defense Readiness" So if you have any guides relating to that topic, please try and post them to the Handout Exchange this week.