AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON ELECTRONIC COLLECTION OF ITEMS - This patent claims the idea of... an electronic collection of items! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.
QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before Dec 3, 2003 that discusses the elements described in the claim below:
TITLE: COMPUTING DEVICE FOR SEARCHING, IDENTIFYING, AND DISPLAYING ITEMS IN A COLLECTION
"Method and system for portable and desktop computing devices to allow searching, identification and display of items in a collection" seems to be a dangerous patent. Programmers do this kind of thing regularly.
Claim 1 requires each and every step below:
A field-useable guide in the form of a portable computer device for identifying natural items observed by a user from a collection of natural items, comprising:
a housing for the portable computer device, the housing containing a programmed microprocessor, data storage, a display screen and a user input,
means in the microprocessor and data storage for displaying to the user a series of selectable attributes which vary among natural items in the collection of natural items, each attribute having one or more data types in which a plurality of values for the attribute are stored in the data storage, the values for the series of selectable attributes being in a plurality of the following data types stored in the storage for presentation to the user in a search conducted by the user:
(a) descriptive text,
(b) number values,
(c) color images of natural items in the collection of natural items,
(d) sounds produced by natural items, in the case of a group of animals as the collection of natural items,
(e) moving pictures of natural items, in the case of animals as the natural items of the collection,
(f) color samples for matching to a feature of an observed natural item of a collection of natural items,
(g) silhouettes representative of groups of natural items within a collection of natural items, and
- search means associated with the microprocessor for enabling and prompting the user, on the display screen, to perform a step-by-step elimination search to identify a natural item observed in the field by selecting one of said attributes, reviewing the various values presented by the portable computer device as possible values under the subject selected attribute for the natural item observed in the field, then selecting one said value for the selected attribute, then selecting another of said attributes, reviewing the values presented as possible values for said another selected attribute and selecting one of the values, and continuing the stepwise elimination search to further reduce the number of possible natural items in the natural items of the collection, the search means progressively eliminating non-matches from a list of possible natural items in the natural items of the collection,
and including elimination means associated with the microprocessor for eliminating further said attributes which become irrelevant or redundant after selection by a user of a particular value for a said attribute, and further including means associated with the microprocessor for eliminating certain of the values under particular said attributes which values become irrelevant or redundant as choices due to prior selection of particular aid values under one or more previously selected said attributes,
whereby the elimination means, in the step-by-step elimination search, assures against a null result of the search.