Browse Prior Art Database

A Email System Supporting On-Demand Attachment Disclosure Number: IPCOM000021257D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Jan-08
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Jan-08
Document File: 2 page(s) / 136K

Publishing Venue



The disclosure presents a method for supporting on-demand attachment functionality in mail system. Using the on-demand mechanims, the mail author can choose who could get the documents attached in the mail for (1) avoiding unneccessary document transfer and network/storage consumption and (2)presenting an uniform user experience for virtual team collaboration where mails with attached document (potentiall large or huge size) frequently fly among the team members.

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A Email System Supporting On-Demand Attachment

Current email systems, including Microsoft Exchange Server/Outlook and IBM Domino Server/Notes, and web-based email clients (,, to name a few) support two important email functions widly used by users: CC and ATTACHMENT. CC can distribute the same mail to a number of recievers listed in CC list. ATTACHMENT can attach files(document, images,...) with mail and thus extend the type of content of the email. The receiver using Unattach to get the attached files. Figure 1 depicts a typical case combining both CC and ATTACHMENT.





Figure 1 A Typical Email with CC and ATTACHMENT

A problem here is that in most case, some one in the CC has already have the file(s) attached in the mail. So he/she does not need to receive the attached file that will consume his/her disk space or space in server. A trival solution is that the sender does not include the person into the CC list. However, the solution does not make sense in that in most case, CC is used for group discussion, keep everyone in the virtual group is neccessary for a complete team work. For example, assume there is a virtual team consisting of four persons A, B,C and D, A and B are in one team in one working site, C and D are in another team in another working site. A and B draft a design document and A wants to initiate a round of discussion on the draft document. A send mail TO C and CC to D and B, and attach the document and related files (totally 5M size) in the mail. In this case, B must be involved in the discussion for better interaction among the virtual team, but he does not need to receive the 5M bunch of documents which he already has. Breaking the mail into two mails, one for C and D with attachment, and another one for B brings a bad user experience for the virtual team members who will not have a team concept. This disclosure resolve this frequent problem by introducing a email system supporting on-demand attachment. The general idea is that the attachment is delivered according to the demand of the receivers. As Figure 2, receiver(B) who does not need the attachment will never receive the attached files and thus save the disk space on local or server. Only receivers (C,D) who really need the files can receive the attached files. The...