Library Juice Academy

Online Professional Development for Librarians

Patent Searching for Librarians

Instructor: Jan Comfort

Dates: March 4th through 29th, 2019

Credits: 1.5 CEUs or 15 PDHs

Price: $175


The corpus of patents constitutes one of the largest organized repositories of technical information in the world. There are more than 10,000,000 patents in the United States alone. Searching such a large collection presents unique challenges, and calls for the development of a unique set of skills. The value of identifying and finding these documents is not limited to inventors; information from patents is also used by historians, genealogists, entrepreneurs, attorneys, and engineers. Whether serving public or academic communities, patent searching is a valuable - and marketable skill to include in any librarian’s repertoire. As a primer for librarians, students in this course will learn the anatomy of a patent and how patents are organized. Students will also learn a number of different search strategies, based on specific information needs and features offered by several freely available databases. Guidelines for avoiding "unauthorized practice of law," a concern often inhibiting librarians from providing effective services to their users, will also be provided.

Jan Comfort

Jan Comfort is the Engineering Reference Librarian at Clemson University, in Clemson, South Carolina. Clemson’s R.M. Cooper Library is a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) and has participated in this program - formerly called the Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) - administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) since 1992. In addition, Jan teaches a credit-bearing course on Patent Searching designed for undergraduate Clemson students in scientific and technical fields. She earned her MLS degree at the University of Pittsburgh, and has more than 27 years of experience working with patent and trademark information. She lives on the shores of beautiful Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina, with her husband and two adorable kitties.

Course Structure

This is an online class that is taught asynchronously, meaning that participants do the work on their own time as their schedules allow. The class does not meet together at any particular times, although the instructor may set up optional sychronous chat sessions. Instruction includes readings and assignments in one-week segments. Class participation is in an online forum environment.

Payment Info

You can register in this course through the first week of instruction (as long as enrollment is not full). The "Register" button above goes to our credit card payment gateway, which may be used with personal or institutional credit cards. (Be sure to use the appropriate billing address). If you want to pay with Paypal, or if your institution wants us to send a billing statement or wants to send us a purchase order, please contact us by email to make arrangements.