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A Method and System for Automatic Collection of Contact Data from Electronic Mail Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016329D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Oct-28
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Document File: 3 page(s) / 47K

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A Method and System for Automatic Collection of Contact Data from Electronic Mail

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A Method and System for Automatic Collection of Contact Data from

Electronic Mail

This disclosure provides a method and system for capturing relevant contact information, including telephone numbers and email addresses, from the text of an email message, then passing that data to such an "address book of record".

Electronic mail has become a staple of business and personal communication today, and as such, it is critical that email systems are easy to use and efficient in function. One aspect of email which is in current need of improvement is the collection of contact data. This contact data would be comprised of phone number(s), email address, instant messaging ID, and other identified means of contact. Many email systems offer no automated method for collecting readily available contact data via received mail messages, while most provide only a simple "add user to local address book" button which must be manually activated each time a user wants to add a contact. Often a user will be ready to send a note and then realizes the individual the note is being sent to is not in his local address book. This causes the user to have to manually add the information, if he or she knows the information, or search for a note from that person so he can click on the "add" button. This functionality could be greatly improved with a automated function to selectively add user contact data. In a related problem, a common practice these days is to utilize "drive time" for productive purposes, as the time where calls are answered and made, one may wish to return a telephone call to an individual from whom an email has been received. In a real-world example, "Joe," may have sent the user an email saying, "I am working from my home office today. Please call me there. My number is 555-1234." When the user later checks his or her PDA, they find only Joe's official office number which had been there from earlier experience, but not his home office number, which was just transmitted via email. The computer which houses the home office number, within a recently received email, is unavailable to the user at this particular moment in time, so the call cannot be returned.

One method of addressing this shortfall in email systems would be to add an email "agent" to automate addition of local contact data. This agent would run continuously on the computer either as part of the email system or as a separate software entity which interacts with the email package. Upon receipt and/or opening of email, the agent would parse the incoming note for apparent contact data, check to see whether the data is already present in the local address book, and if not, open a dialog box for the user with options for addition of contact data into the local address book regarding the author of the incoming note. Another aspect of this invention to consider is the "address book of record", which could be the local email application address book, but could also include storage of dat...