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A Method to allow sharing of printed material in a collaborative IT environment Disclosure Number: IPCOM000198388D
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-06
Document File: 3 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a method and system for storing documents in a database that includes information about whether the documents have already been printed, who has printed them, and whether the printout is available for sharing among a group. This system makes this information available to a user upon a print request, perhaps stopping them from unnecessarily printing a document. This decreases the number of duplicate copies that a group or organization prints, saving paper and money.

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A Method to allow sharing of printed material in a collaborative IT environment

Going green and being environmentally friendly is something that most people and companies are looking to do nowadays. Reducing how much we print directly reduces the number of trees that are being to cut to meet the demand for paper, and saves money. There are various attempts that have been made to reduce printed material by going paperless and consolidate communications; however, all printing can not be eliminated. With the rise of social networking tools and collaborative software, there has to be a better way to distribute and share information with large groups that does not require additional or unnecessary printing.

Currently, there are no known solutions.

The invention described here helps reduce the number of printouts and saves paper by keeping track of which documents have been printed/may be shared, and alerts future users who attempt to print the document that they may be able to borrow the document.

The invention, by default, marks documents that are printed as shareable/available for borrowing because someone has already printed them. (Figure 1). On subsequent prints of the same document by other users, the users are alerted to the fact that this document is already available for borrowing from user X (Figure 2). This saves a considerable amount of paper that would otherwise be wasted by users reprinting the same documents multiple times. This contributes to saving the environment as well as saving companies a lot of money.

Figure 1: Alert that document is available for sharing


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Figure 2: System indicates who has already printed the document

Users printing the document have the option to indicate other information about the document they are printing, such as when they will be finished with the document making it available for sharing, whether they would like the document returned, and the length of time the document is available. They may also specify a certain group for sharing/borrowing the document. Once the document has been reserved/picked up by another person, that new person may become the owner of the document and their information appears when someone else tries to print the document.

The invention could be integrated with other social networking t...