Prior Art is defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as "those references or documents which may be used to determine novelty and/or non-obviousness of claimed subject matter in a patent application." Prior art can take different forms.
In vernacular English, prior art is documentation from the published literature (scholarly articles, standards, technical reports, industry websites) that shows existing products, processes or techniques that pre-exist your design and demonstrate how your design innovates on those existing products, processes or techniques.
As discussed in the take-home activity, when writing in an academic setting, it is of the utmost importance that you cite your sources and that your sources are refutable. We went over peer review in detail, but there are other forms of information that constitute prior art.
Generating a robust bibliography and building a complete understanding of the prior art surrounding your project will require a variety of materials:
A great place to start when familiarizing yourself with these materials is to reach out to your sponsoring organization or review any information your sponsor has already given. Ask yourself:
The University Library connects you to far more than journal articles. If you run into any issues or have any questions, please reach out to your library contact.