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Method to delete and reconstruct email attachments Disclosure Number: IPCOM000019930D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Oct-10
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Oct-10
Document File: 1 page(s) / 35K

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It often happens that websites require users to fill in a form that is a text based/Word/other text editor document. Users then send these forms in to an email address specified on the website. e.g. registration for IETF conferences, small company order systems etc. If a large number of users respond, these emails (each with a possibly large attachment) will take up a large amount of space on the recipient's machine. A method to save this space that is completey transparent to the user is proposed.

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Method to delete and reconstruct email attachments

In this method the email client on the recipient's machine receives an email with an attachment and it must check the format of the attachment to ensure that this is indeed the well-known order form/registration entry/etc. The client will then run a parser on the attachment, extract all the information and save it in a central database. The attachment is then deleted from the email in the inbox.

Now, when this attachment is deleted, a special tag is inserted into the email where the attachment would normally be. A similar tag is inserted in the central database for the database entry that corresponds to this attachment.

Now if a user tries to view one of these emails in the inbox, the user might try to open the attachment (which has been deleted). The email client however has a tag in place. It will now create an empty version of the order form and proceed to fill in all the values from the database. The user will be shown this document and will never know that it has been actually deleted from the email and reconstructed from the database.

The only way that the user will notice this action is that the disk-usage on his system will be much smaller than expected even though a large number of people have sent documents to his machine.

Disclosed by International Business Machines Corporation