Patent Metadata

Before You Start

  1. Sign into the editing system: (Remember: username is first initial and last name)
  2. Choose a record that has not been edited by clicking on the title/thumbnail
    • Unedited records will have only the patent number/all digits as the title, e.g.: 00005661 or 01056778
    • Note: If another editor is already working on a record, a lock icon will display on the thumbnail in the Dashboard list
    • Do not choose a record labeled “SKIP” in the title – these records have known problems or special considerations
  3. In the item record, click on the thumbnail (upper-right side of the screen) to see all of the pages
    • Skim the pages of the patent to make sure that there are no problems (e.g., all of the pages are included and the text/illustrations match)
    • Double-check that the inventor (or an assignee) is from Texas by looking at the statement near the top of the text, where the inventor and patent title are listed
    • If you find any of these problems (before or after you start), add a note to the title – e.g., “##### – SKIP pages mismatched” or “Garden-Hose – SKIP inventor is not from Texas” – and leave the patent hidden without completing the record


  1. Look at the pages of the patent and enter information step-by-step into each field as described below
    • You can view the pages by clicking on the thumbnail in the record
    • It may be helpful to compare the instructions to the examples (highlighted in gray for each step)
    • There is a video tutorial at the bottom of the page if you would like to see an example record from start to finish
  2. Some information has been pre-filled in every record
    • Do not change pre-set information unless there are instructions to do so
    • Some fields will not change:
      • Publisher - United States. Patent Office.
      • Language - English
      • Collection - Texas Patents
      • Institution - UNT Libraries GovDocs Department
      • Resource Type - Patent
      • Format - Text
  3. Always enter separate information (e.g., multiple names, titles, keywords, etc.) as separate entries in the field
    • Click on the + sign at the bottom of the field to add a new entry
    • More about adding multiple entries can be found here: Help Guide
  4. For each field, read the instructions below and review the examples
  5. To find more information on formatting for any field, read the appropriate page in the full guidelines:
    • Click on the field’s title link on this page or
    • Click on the “More” link at the top of the field in the editing form


Main Title

  1. Remove the title place-holder (folder/identifier)
  2. Use the title from the header at the start of the text
  3. Use title capitalization
  4. Punctuate the title as written


  • Wire Fence.
  • Improvement in Seeding-Machines.
  • Improvement in Machines for Polishing Marble, &c.

Added Title

  1. For patents that have a titled illustration:
    • Include the title on the first illustration page as an added title
    • Do not include the illustration title if is identical to the text title
  2. Remember: Add an entry by clicking on the + sign at the bottom of the field
    More about adding multiple entries in the editing system can be found here: Help Guide


  • Main title: Improvement in Cotton-Pickers.
    Added title: Cotton Harvester.
  • Main title: Hand-Stamp.
    Added title: Hand Stamp.


All Names

  1. There are place-holders for the inventor, 2-4 witnesses, and the printer (the attorney name is not required)
    • Make sure to remove the “[]” or “{}” in the name field
  2. You should not need to change information in the drop-down menus
  3. Write out standard abbreviations but include the alternate (abbreviated) form in the creator/contributor information, e.g.:
    • Chas. = Charles
    • Geo. = George
    • Jas. = James
    • Jno. = John
    • Thos. = Thomas
    • Wm. = William


  • Name: Thomas, George C.
    Info: Geo. C. Thomas
  1. If necessary, add additional name entries after the place-holders (e.g., for a second inventor)
  2. Choose the appropriate type/role from the drop-down menus


  • Assignee
  • Inventor
  • Illustrator


  1. Add fullest version of the inventor’s name(s) using proper formatting:
    • Invert names (last, first)
    • Space between initials
    • Put necessary suffixes at the end
    • For other formatting questions, see the full creator name guidelines


  • Allgaier, George E.
  • Donovan, I. T.
  • Austin, John Overton
  • Milner, Thomas, Jr.
  1. Add the author statement from the header to the information section
  2. Alternate forms of the name (from the text) can also be included in the same line


  • Augustus C. Allen, of Houston, Texas.
  • Charles Porter, of Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Otis Andrews, of El Paso, Texas. ; O. Andrews.
  1. If the author is an assignor e.g., “Assignor of one-half to…”:
    • List the assignor as the creator with the role “inventor”
    • Include the full statement in the creator information
    • Include the assignee as a contributor with the role “assignee”


  • Name: McKay, Robert B.
    Role: Inventor
    Info: Robert B. McKay, of Logansport, Louisiana, Assignor of one-half to Bailey A. Roper, of Tenaha, Texas.


  1. Add the two witnesses who are listed at the end of the text
  2. Use the same formatting as creator names (see also: full contributor name guidelines)
  3. Different witnesses may have signed the illustration (if present)
    • There are two placeholders with “Witness for illustration.” in the info section
    • If the signatures are readable, add the names of the illustration witnesses
    • If there are no witnesses, or if any names are illegible, unavailable, or if you aren’t certain about them, remove the placeholder(s)


  • Hollinghead, John S.
  • Northen, Mary Eva

  • Name: Osgood, R. F.
    Info: Witness for illustration.
  1. If there is an illustration, include the name at the bottom of the illustration as the “printer”
    • When in doubt as to the type, assume that the name is a company (organization)
    • When possible, use the same form of the name
    • If the lithographer is one of these companies, use the exact name below:
      • A.M. Photo-Lithogr. Co.
      • Norris Peters Co. (sometimes written as “N. Peters”)
      • Andrew B. Graham Co.
    • Add the statement to the information section (as it is printed on the patent)


  • Name: Norris Peters Co.
    Role: Printer
    Info: N. Peters, Photo-Lithographer, Washington D.C.
  1. Delete the place-holder entry for the printer if:
    • There is not an illustration
    • The illustration does not include the name of a lithographer/illustrator


All Dates

  1. Use the format YYYY-MM-DD

Creation/Acceptance Date

  1. Enter the date of the patent twice (two entries)
    • This is listed in the text header - e.g., “dated May 20, 1873”
  2. Label the first entry as “Creation Date” and the second as “Acceptance Date” in the drop-down menu


  • Creation Date: 1873-05-20
    Acceptance Date: 1873-05-20

Submission Date

  1. Add an entry labeled “Submission Date” if it is noted in the text
    • It will be in the text header, e.g., “application filed April 5, 1873”


  • Submission Date: 1873-04-05


Content Description

  1. Add a brief (usually 1-2 sentence) description explaining what the patent is for
  2. Try to note what makes the invention unique, as far as you can determine; for example, there are many variations on farm equipment and tools, but the text will generally note that the particular design is cheaper,
    more versatile, easier to build or use, more efficient, etc.
  3. If you quote the text, be sure to cite it


  • Patent for a new medical compound to treat chills and fevers which lists the ingredients and dosages.
  • Patent for “a new and improved mode of dressing millstones for the purpose of grinding every kind of grain into meal flour &c., &c.” (lines 4-7) including instructions and illustrations.
  • Patent for a new windmill design with different sails and connections, including illustrations.

Physical Description

  1. There is a placeholder for physical description: [1], # p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
  2. Here is what each part means:
[1], # p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Number of unpaginated pages, # of paginated text pages : item has illustrations ; pages are 23 cm. tall
(Note: this never changes)
  1. Adjust the physical description as necessary (see table below)
  2. Note that as a general rule, illustrations and text are always numbered separately
  3. Base number of pages on last paginated page of each section; if there is a page “2” then the preceding page is “1” even if no number is printed
Parts of physical description Examples
# illustrated pages # text pages item is illustrated h in cm.  
[1], # p. : ill. ; 23 cm.

[1], 3 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.

(1 unpaginated illustration page, 3 paginated text pages : text has illustrations ; 23 cm. tall)

remove if no illustrations -- remove if no illustrations --

2 p. ; 23 cm.

(2 paginated text pages with no illustrations ; 23 cm. tall)

no brackets if numbered   -- --

3 sheets, 3 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.

(3 paginated illustration pages labeled "sheet 1-3", 3 paginated text pages : text has illustrations ; 23 cm. tall)

use brackets if un-numbered -- --

[1] p. ; 23 cm.

(1 unpaginated text page with no illustrations ; 23 cm tall)

[2] p. : ill. ; 23 cm.

(1 unpaginated illustration and 1 unpaginated text page : text has illustrations ; 23 cm tall)


  1. The general terms that are pre-populated in the records may remain, but you should add at least 1-2 more specific subjects for locating the particular patent


  1. Add appropriate UNT Libraries Browse Subjects (UNTL-BS)
  2. Use the pop-up modal and/or the full list
  1. When relevant, add additional LCSH terms
  2. Only add LCSH terms if you are familiar with constructing them


  • Cotton-picking machinery
  • Rubber stamps


  1. Add additional relevant keywords
  2. Keywords should be lowercase and plural unless they are proper names
  3. Consider using common spelling variations or synonyms for words used in the patent text


  • ovens
  • skillets
  • washing machines
  • harvesters
  • cotton
  • ploughs
  1. For more technical terms, you can use the patent number to find the text in Google Patents:
    • When you find the patent page, “Classifications” should be listed near the top
    • Click on the classification text and it should display the full hierarchy from class to sub-class for the specific item
      • The first number is the class and the second is the most specific sub-class
      • The listing at the bottom is the most specific term
      • Some related terms from the subclass may be listed (but not applicable) – look at the specific number to see which parts apply
    • Add relevant technical terms/keywords based on those headings


  • comminution
  • pendant closures
  • escapements

Primary Source

  1. Make sure that “Yes” is checked


Place Name

  1. Add the place that the inventor is from
    • This is in the text header and first paragraph
    • Sometimes there is a city listed and sometimes only a county
  2. When you click on the text (United States), it will open a pop-up modal
  3. Highlight the text and start typing the name of the city or county and the place name should appear in the list

  4. If the city is not in the list, add the name, using appropriate formatting:
    United States - Texas - [name] County - [city]
  5. Pay attention to spacing and capitalization if you add a new place


  • United States - Texas - Travis County - Austin
  • United States - Texas - Hill County - Hillsboro
  1. If there are two places (e.g., for two inventors or an assignor and assignee), include both


  • United States - Louisiana - De Soto Parish - Logansport
    United States - Texas - Shelby County - Tenaha


Patent Number

The patent number has been automatically entered

  1. Change the qualifier (in the drop-down menu) to “Patent Number”
  2. Remove any zero-padding from the number (all preceding zeroes)


  • 5661 (original #: 00005661)
  • 198785 (original #: 00198785)

Serial Number

  1. Add a second identifier for patents that list a serial number at the head of the text
    • Choose “Government Documents Number” from the drop-down list
    • Write out the number as 02/######


  • Patent Number: 447374
  • Government Documents No.: 02/354853


Display Note

  1. Notes are used only when there is information that does not fit in another field
  2. Quote any special statements from the top of the text (e.g., for a serial number or acceptance date)


Display Note:

  • “Application filed June 9, 1890. Serial No. 354,853. (No model.)”
  • “Application filed January 17, 1885. (No model.)”
  • “Application filed May 20, 1913, Serial No. 768,815. Renewed January 19, 1915. Serial No. 3,170.”

Saving the Record

  1. When all fields are completed, skim through the record to check for errors (e.g., typos, incorrect spacing, missing information, etc.)
  2. If everything is correct, select the radio button next to “Visible” to make the record public
    (in the upper-right side of the form, near the thumbnail)
  3. Click “Publish”
  4. If you would like to see the live record, click the “View Online” link at the top of the success page

Special Cases

Here are some completed records that provide additional examples of situations that you might see in patents.

Record Example of:
Improvement in Medical Compounds of Bitters for Treading Chills and Fever.

Metadata summary view
no illustration
no numbered pages
date filed
Dressing Millstones.

Metadata summary view
quoted text in content description
Improved Method of Feathering the Sails of Vanes of Windmills.

Metadata summary view
two inventors
abbreviated name (witness)
Improvement in Propelling Vessels.

Metadata summary view
no city listed

Metadata summary view
serial number
two places
application date

Metadata summary view
applicant is not inventor

Metadata summary view
two serial numbers
application/renewal date
Cotton-Sack Carrier.

Metadata summary view
two inventors
witnesses for each signature
application/renewal date

Video Tutorial

This video tutorial walks through the creation of this record for a “cotton gin” patent. (You can look at the completed record values if you want to follow along.)