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Method and Apparatus to Create Threads of Conversation in an Instant Messaging System Disclosure Number: IPCOM000198789D
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-16
Document File: 4 page(s) / 39K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a system and method for creating threads of conversation in an instant messaging (IM) system that allow a user to locate key information based on a topic. The creation of topics is either automatic, using intelligent logic to recognize certain messages in a chat conversation as related, or manual, requiring users to create these topics while providing the means to do it.

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Method and Apparatus to Create Threads of Conversation in an Instant Messaging System

Instant messaging (IM) is a popular communication mechanism used in professional and personal settings. Any conversation between two or more persons is likely to cover several topics in more than one context; instant messaging is no different. In subsequent conversations they may have follow-up exchanges on previously discussed topics.

Typically, systems save the chat sessions by person and date of conversation. If a person needs to go back to the transcripts to check on information related to a topic he/she would have to rely on their memory and search through several conversations to manually extract parts of them to finally get full information on the topic. While search technologies offer a more effective method for searching the transcripts, the search remains based on general contexts which may return more results than necessary. Tagging allows search engines to provide context to the user; it does not allow a granular view of threads of conversation in the same manner as is accomplished in email communication.

In email conversations, email clients are able to create threads of conversations based on the content of the subject field, which groups together potentially like messages in a viewable segment.

There is a need for a similar capability in instant messaging. Due to the cryptic nature of the messages and multiple topics involved in a conversation, an approach to creating threads of conversation between and within chats sessions needs to be more granular. It will make future data mining easier and more context-aware than relying on a search engine alone.

Current approaches to the problem include:

• A system which identifies words/phrases from a conversation as potential "search keys" to search/display relevant information (e.g., for advertisement based on the subject of conversation) (1)

• A system where the entire chat is available for bookmarking; however, this does not group messages across several chats or allow portions of the conversation to be accessed directly. (2)

• A method which allows users to start a separate thread of conversation in a separate window parallel to an existing conversation. It allows merging of such threads. This does not include organizing messages in full or part into threads of conversations after the session. (3)

• A method of combining email type conversations to instant messaging. It does not allow for messages to be assigned to multiple conversations or a conversation to be categorized into multiple topics. (4)

This invention proposes a mechanism that allows the creation of threads of conversations to facilitate the organization of information in chat sessions into topics. The messages for each topic can span multiple chat conversations and each chat conversation can have multiple distinct or overlapping topics. This organization allows information within and across chat


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