As you start to research for your contest submission, here are some pointers to help while you’re out there.
Where to Go
Let’s start with published literature (e.g. journal articles, product manuals) which are generally eligible for contest bonus points. Here’s some places…
- Google Scholar, Google’s free search engine on academic literature
- ProQuest, JSTOR, SpringerLink, and IEEE Xplore, paid subscription databases covering academic and non-academic published works, typically available from any university or public library
- CiteSeerx, an excellent free academic literature search engine
- BusinessWire and PR Newswire, great collections of corporate press releases
Some contests are more patent specific (here’s a helpful guide to explain the basics). We’d suggest…
- our own Patexia patent database including any lawsuits the patents is involved in, with a helpful guide to explain how to use this resource
- Google Patent and Espacenet, Google’s and the European Patent Office’s (EPO) patent databases
- and even more suggestions at University of Maine’s Folger Library patent resource list
What to Look For
As you’re searching, here’s some tips to help save you time.
Build your search using the concepts from the more specific questions. You can identify these as they’re the ones that use the most detail, or have the core feature described in the problem of the contest description.
Use the file/publication date (if included) to filter your results, whether the publication date for articles/textbooks, version update for websites, filing date for US patents, or international publication date for foreign patents.
Make sure you’re covering all the questions. As you’re answering, double check the general questions, not just the specific ones from earlier. They might not help you narrow your results, but they make great checkpoints. If you can’t find an answer for the broader questions, chances are you won’t find the more specific questions either.
Periodically check the Known Reference list from the contest description to make sure you’re not accidentally using a reference that would get automatically disqualified.