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Service and Framework for keeping files alive

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132181D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Dec-05
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Dec-05
Document File: 2 page(s) / 46K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This invention proposes a service and framework to keep an organization's files alive by maintaining a database of relevant access methods and format converters.

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Service and Framework for keeping files alive

Data is typically represented as a file in a computer system. A variety of access methods are exploited to interact with the files. For instance, MS Word* is exploited to access and create Word files. An access method can only recognize files of a certain format. This in turn means that a file's accessibility (usefulness) is a by-product of the functionality of the access methods that recognize the file's format. However, file formats and their associated access methods are constantly evolving. In time, fewer and fewer access methods may recognize a particular file format. Eventually a file whose format is no longer recognized by any access methods is effectively useless. Even when access methods exist for a particular file format, they may not be available to an enterprise. This invention proposes a service and framework to keep an organization's files alive by maintaining a database of relevant access methods and format converters.

    The proposed service maintains a database of access methods indexed by relevant file formats. A file format is deemed relevant as long as the organization contains a file that uses the format. File formats may also be converted to other formats. Typically, when a file format evolve, software is created to convert the old format to the new format. Also, converters are created to help with interoperability between access methods and various computing environments. For instance, MS Word documents can be converted to Portable Data Format (PDF) in order to view this documents on the Unix** operating system. Thus the database also contains format converters with links between the formats.

    Access methods may also be dependent on other software or hardware. For instance, MS Word runs under the Microsoft operating systems that are dependent on an Intel hardware base. So the database also must include the software and references to the hardware upon which the access methods are dependent.

    Please note: The database does not have to keep the actual copies of the access m...