System and Method for Motivated Orphan-Attachment Action
Original Publication Date: 2009-Feb-10
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Feb-10
E-mail attachments that are detached and stored to local or network drives, particularly if they are no longer needed, can become troublesome. This article describes a system for automatically assigning and managing metadata associated with a detached file, and providing attachment management capability to the user.
System and Method for Motivated Orphan -Attachment Action
E-mail attachments that are detached and stored to local or network drives, particularly if no longer needed, can become troublesome. Such attachments may fill up expensive hard-drive and server space. There is labor cost in users manually managing or deleting these detached files. Lack of version control of the attachments can lead to errors or inefficiency. This article describes a system for automatically assigning and managing metadata associated with a detached file. This metadata can be used to manage these attachments. This facilitated clean-up of attachments has value both on a per-user basis and an enterprise or organizational basis.
When an attachment is detached, metadata associated with the attachment is stored. This storage can be in a centralized server, shared server, or server local to the user, perhaps associated with the user's mail client, other collaboration client, file system or content management system. The metadata stored can include, sender of the message, when the message was sent, when it was received, when it was detached, author of the attachment, size and type of the attachment, where the attachment is stored, metadata derived from the contents of the attachment, and other metadata. The metadata may be generated, derived automatically or entered manually. The metadata can be updated based on subsequent actions on the original e-mail such as deleting it, forwarding it, archiving it, etc. and also be updated based on subsequent actions on the attachment such as modifying or deleting it. The updating might be done programmatically by the mail or messaging client, file system, content editor, using agent technology or other programmatic means. It may also be done manually.
Consider a use case: A user or manager or administrator may say "... show me all the attachments meeting criteria ZZZ...". The user might be presented with a list or other indication of all attachments meeting the criteria ZZZ. The user can then operate on the attachments individually or collectively. For example the user may be presented with the option of deleting some or all of the attachments. An attachment that has been stored is referred to as an orphan attachment after the original e-mail has been deleted. Orphan
attachments that have not been modified, or opened in a significant period of time may be candidates...