The third edition of Stephen Adams' Information sources in patents has been published by De Gruyter Saur, ISBN 9783110235111.
Stephen is a well-known professional in the patent information world. This book is meant for the serious researcher who needs to know details such as Brazilian patent numeration, or what databases cover Russia. For those less involved in that area, it is still a very useful reference. Minor quibbles are that I would have liked the index to indicate for example which of the 6 mentions of India was for what subject, and I found the index citations to tables of data rather than to the actual pages awkward. With such a comprehensive book more space is needed for the index.
At over 300 pages there does not seem to be a relevant point that is not covered and discussed. The book begins with principles of patenting. As patent systems vary in their publication methods and content and in their numeration (if only historically), four major systems are discussed in great detail (Europe, USA, Japan and the PCT), then over 10 in less but still considerable detail. These include the BRIC countries (a special feature of the new edition) as well as the Far East.
Part II then discusses the different ways to get at the information in those documents. Numerous databases are not just explained but also discussed. As Stephen has a chemical background this subject is of course very well covered here.
I would have liked to see more on public sites, since these are used so much for accessing specific patent documents, and would like to suggest that this forms a "common search type" besides the three given (alerting; patentability and freedom-to-operate; and portfolio and legal proceedings) as obtaining copies is not always straightforward. Filing numbers can be taken to mean published numbers, and US Re-issues are a particular problem, as it is easy to think that a conventional US patent number is the correct text when it may have been replaced by a Re-issue with a new number. Both Espacenet and the official US database do not warn the user that the original patent has been replaced.
Other subjects in the book include legal status searching and classification. Someone new to the trade would probably find it useful to look carefully through the lists of 27 figures and 72 tables to see which ones illuminate problems or display useful data.
In short, this book is packed with detailed information and advice and is indispensable for anyone working in the field, or hoping to do so. It is very easy to construct a bad search or to misinterpret what has been found. Stephen's book helps make mistakes less likely (the searcher still needs to have ability !). The book can be examined through the publisher's website. It is certainly taking a place next to my PC at work.