Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20030217106 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/106,096
Publication dateNov 20, 2003
Filing dateMar 25, 2002
Priority dateMar 25, 2002
Also published asUS20130041906
Publication number10106096, 106096, US 2003/0217106 A1, US 2003/217106 A1, US 20030217106 A1, US 20030217106A1, US 2003217106 A1, US 2003217106A1, US-A1-20030217106, US-A1-2003217106, US2003/0217106A1, US2003/217106A1, US20030217106 A1, US20030217106A1, US2003217106 A1, US2003217106A1
InventorsEytan Adar, Rajan Lukose, Joshua Tyler, Caesar Sengupta
Original AssigneeEytan Adar, Lukose Rajan Mathew, Tyler Joshua Rogers, Caesar Sengupta
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System and method for profiling clients within a system for harvesting community knowledge
US 20030217106 A1
Abstract
A privacy-preserving system and method is disclosed for profiling clients within a system for knowledge management. The method of the present invention discloses steps for generating a client profile in support of receiving and processing messages using scoring techniques and/or filtering techniques. The method of the present invention further includes steps for generating a client profile in support of a method for generating and obtaining responses to messages using scoring techniques and/or filtering techniques. The system of the present invention, includes all means for implementing the method.
Images(7)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(37)
What is claimed is:
1. A method for knowledge management, comprising:
accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
collecting data target information from the data targets;
generating a client profile from the data target information;
storing the profile on a client computer;
receiving a message; and
scoring the message with respect to the profile.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the collecting element includes:
retrieving stored data target information.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the collecting element includes:
capturing real-time data target information.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein the accessing element includes accessing messages.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein the accessing element includes accessing email.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the accessing element includes accessing files.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein the accessing element includes accessing web pages.
8. The method of claim 1 wherein the accessing element includes accessing installed hardware.
9. The method of claim 1 wherein the accessing element includes accessing installed software.
10. The method of claim 2 wherein the retrieving element includes retrieving information stored on the client computer.
11. The method of claim 2 wherein the retrieving element includes retrieving information stored on a network.
12. The method of claim 3 wherein the capturing element includes capturing user commands.
13. The method of claim 3 wherein the capturing element includes capturing cached data.
14. The method of claim 1 wherein the generating element includes analyzing the data target information using data mining techniques.
15. The method of claim 1 wherein the generating element includes identifying structured data items within the data target information.
16. The method of claim 1 wherein the generating element includes generating a positive client profile.
17. The method of claim 1 wherein the generating element includes generating a negative client profile.
18. The method of claim 1 wherein the storing element includes storing the structured data items in the client profile.
19. The method of claim 1 wherein the generating element includes:
identifying unstructured data items within the data target information; and
performing a statistical analysis on the unstructured data.
20. The method of claim 19 wherein the performing element includes:
identifying a set of keywords; and
calculating a frequency of occurrence of each keyword within the unstructured data.
21. The method of claim 19 wherein the performing element includes:
identifying a set of key phrases; and
calculating a frequency of occurrence of each key phrase within the unstructured data.
22. The method of claim 19 wherein the storing element includes storing the statistical analysis in the client profile.
23. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
supplementing the client profile with information provided explicitly by a user.
24. The method of claim 1 wherein the storing element includes storing the client profile only on the client computer.
25. The method of claim 1 wherein the storing element includes encrypting the client profile.
26. The method of claim 1 wherein the storing element includes password protecting the client profile.
27. The method of claim 1 wherein the scoring element includes:
identifying a filtering criteria within the message;
associating a first value with those filter criteria found within the profile;
associating a second value, which is lower than the first value, with those filter criteria not found within the profile;
assigning a weighted percentage to the message score and each filter criteria; and
calculating an overall message score by combining the weighted percentages.
28. A method for knowledge management, comprising:
accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
collecting data target information from the data targets;
generating a client profile from the data target information;
storing the profile on a client computer;
accessing a web page; and
scoring the web page with respect to the profile.
29. A method for knowledge management, comprising:
accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
collecting data target information from the data targets;
generating a client profile from the data target information;
storing the profile on a client computer;
receiving an e-mail; and
scoring the e-mail with respect to the profile.
30. A method for knowledge management, comprising:
accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
collecting data target information from the data targets;
generating a client profile from the data target information;
storing the profile on a client computer;
opening a file; and
scoring the file with respect to the profile.
31. A method for knowledge management, comprising:
accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
collecting data target information from the data targets;
generating a client profile from the data target information;
storing the profile on a client computer;
receiving a message including filtering criteria; and
displaying the message on the computer if the filtering criteria is found within the profile.
32. A method for knowledge management, comprising:
generating a message;
transmitting the message from a sending client to a set of receiving clients;
accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
collecting data target information from the data targets;
generating a receiving client profile from the data target information;
scoring the message with respect to the profile; and
displaying the message on a receiving client's computer.
33. A method for knowledge management, comprising:
generating a message including filtering criteria;
transmitting the message from a sending client to a set of receiving clients;
accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
collecting data target information from the data targets;
generating a receiving client profile from the data target information;
scoring the message with respect to the profile; and
displaying the message on the receiving client's computer if the filtering criteria is found within the profile.
34. A system for knowledge management, comprising:
means for accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
means for collecting data target information from the data targets;
means for generating a client profile from the data target information;
means for storing the profile on a client computer;
means for receiving a message; and
means for scoring the message with respect to the profile.
35. A system for knowledge management, comprising:
means for accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
means for collecting data target information from the data targets;
means for generating a client profile from the data target information;
means for storing the profile on a client computer;
means for receiving a message including filtering criteria; and
means for displaying the message on the computer if the filtering criteria is found within the profile.
36. A system for knowledge management, comprising:
means for generating a message;
means for transmitting the message from a sending client to a set of receiving clients;
means for accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
means for collecting data target information from the data targets;
means for generating a receiving client profile from the data target information;
means for scoring the message with respect to the profile; and
means for displaying the message on a receiving client's computer.
37. A system for knowledge management, comprising:
means for generating a message including filtering criteria;
means for transmitting the message from a sending client to a set of receiving clients;
means for accessing a predetermined set of data targets;
means for collecting data target information from the data targets;
means for generating a receiving client profile from the data target information;
means for scoring the message with respect to the profile; and
means for displaying the message on the receiving client's computer if the filtering criteria is found within the profile.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO CO-PENDING APPLICATION

[0001] This application relates to and incorporates by reference co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/093658, entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR HARVESTING COMMUNITY KNOWLEDGE,” filed on Mar. 7, 2002, by Adar et. al. This related application is assigned to Hewlett-Packard Co. of Palo Alto, Calif.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to systems and methods for information sharing and knowledge management, and more particularly for profiling clients within a system for harvesting community knowledge.

[0004] 2. Discussion of Background Art

[0005] Satisfying information needs in a diverse, heterogeneous information environment is challenging. In order to even begin the process of finding information resources or answers to questions, individuals typically must know either where to look, or whom to ask. This is often a daunting task, especially in large enterprises where many of the members will not know each other, nor be aware of all the information resources potentially at their disposal.

[0006] Current systems for storing information and/or organizational expertise include Knowledge Databases (K-bases), such as document repositories and corporate directories, and Knowledge Management systems, which rely on users to explicitly describe their personal information, knowledge, and expertise to a centralized K-base.

[0007]FIG. 1 is a dataflow diagram of a conventional knowledge management system 100. In a typical architecture, information providing users 102 explicitly decide what descriptive information they provide to a central database 104. An information seeking user 106 then performs a query on the central database 104 in order to find an information provider who perhaps may be able to answer the seeker's question.

[0008] There are several significant problems with such systems. Knowledge management systems, like that shown in FIG. 1, require that information providers spend a significant amount of time and effort entering and updating their personal information on the central database 104. For this reasons alone, such systems tend to have very low participation rates. In addition, even those information providers, who take time to enter and update this information, may misrepresent their personal information or level of knowledge and expertise be it willfully or not. Furthermore, they may neglect or be unable to reveal much of their tacit knowledge within their personal description. Tacit knowledge is knowledge a user possesses, but which the user either does not consider important enough to enter, or which they may not even be consciously aware that they know.

[0009] Because of the inaccuracy and/or incompleteness of such personal information, information seekers, even after all of their searching efforts, may still find their questions left unanswered, perhaps because the “expert” they identified may not have the bandwidth to respond. Similarly, even information seekers who discover the existence of a relevant K-base may be required to formulate queries which are so complex that they either can not or will not bother to perform a proper search

[0010] A second significant problem with knowledge management systems is the information provider's lack of privacy with respect to their personal information stored on the central database 104. No matter what agreements a knowledge management system's central database 104 provider has made with the user, the fact remains that the central database 104 provider still has the user's personal information, which means that that personal information is out of the direct control of said user. As a result, information providers may be unwilling to reveal much about themselves in the presence of a risk that their privacy would be violated. In such systems, the provider must pre-screen all information to be revealed, in order to make sure that the information provided does not contain information which the user would not be comfortable with others having access to. The resulting high participation costs often results in profiles that are stale and lack richness.

[0011] Another problem with such systems, is their lack of anonymity. Information seekers and providers cannot remain anonymous while performing queries or asking questions. As such, they may not perform a search, as a question, or wholeheartedly reveal their knowledge about a particular topic in their response to another user's question.

[0012] All of the above problems lead to free-riding by many of those using such conventional knowledge management systems. Free-riding occurs when there are information seekers who are not also information providers. They benefit from the information stored on databases, but do not contribute to them. Free-riding tends to make all users worse off, since a knowledge management system's and K-base's value depends upon the richness and fidelity of each users' contributions.

[0013] A fourth problem is cost. Conventional centralized systems require the installation of additional hardware dedicated to the knowledge management system and do not make use of otherwise unutilized resources such as the user's own personal computer.

[0014] Collaborative filtering techniques also have similar problems. Collaborative filtering is a tool for selectively presenting users with information recommendations based on the collective wisdom of the participant users. Generally these systems require users to actively mark incoming information as relevant or not relevant to their interests. A central system manages this information and attempts to group individuals with similar interests (as expressed by the ratings they assign to pieces of information). Users who seek knowledge in are then directed to information that members like them have indicated as relevant. Due to their centralized nature, these systems lack many privacy features and require heavy active participation by individuals. For this reason collaborative filtering systems frequently do not have access to rich profiles. Additionally, the information that is filtered may not address specific information needs and the user must then wade through the information or perform additional searches and may still find no answer.

[0015] In response to the concerns discussed above, what is needed is a system and method for profiling clients within a system for harvesting community knowledge that overcomes the problems of the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The present invention is a privacy-preserving system and method for profiling clients within a system for knowledge management. One embodiment of the method of the present invention includes the steps of: accessing a predetermined set of data targets; collecting data target information from the data targets; generating a client profile from the data target information; storing the profile on a client computer; receiving a message; and scoring the message with respect to the profile.

[0017] A second embodiment of the method of the present invention replaces the receiving and scoring steps with the steps of: accessing a web page; and scoring the web page with respect to the profile.

[0018] A third embodiment of the method of the present invention replaces the receiving and scoring steps with the steps of: receiving an e-mail; and scoring the email with respect to the profile.

[0019] A fourth embodiment of the method of the present invention replaces the receiving and scoring steps with the steps of: opening a file; and scoring the file with respect to the profile.

[0020] A fifth embodiment of the method of the present invention includes the steps of: accessing a predetermined set of data targets; collecting data target information from the data targets; generating a client profile from the data target information; storing the profile on a client computer; receiving a message including filtering criteria; and displaying the message on the computer if the filtering criteria is found within the profile.

[0021] A sixth embodiment of the method of the present invention includes the steps of: generating a message; transmitting the message from a sending client to a set of receiving clients; accessing a predetermined set of data targets; collecting data target information from the data targets; generating a receiving client profile from the data target information; scoring the message with respect to the profile; and displaying the message on a receiving client's computer.

[0022] A seventh embodiment of the method of the present invention includes the steps of: generating a message including filtering criteria; transmitting the message from a sending client to a set of receiving clients; accessing a predetermined set of data targets; collecting data target information from the data targets; generating a receiving client profile from the data target information; scoring the message with respect to the profile; and displaying the message on the receiving client's computer if the filtering criteria is found within the profile.

[0023] The system of the present invention, includes all means for implementing the method.

[0024] These and other aspects of the invention will be recognized by those skilled in the art upon review of the detailed description, drawings, and claims set forth below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0025]FIG. 1 is a dataflow diagram of a conventional system for knowledge management;

[0026]FIG. 2 is a dataflow diagram of one embodiment of a system for profiling clients within a system for harvesting community knowledge;

[0027]FIG. 3 is a flowchart of one embodiment of a method for harvesting community knowledge;

[0028]FIG. 4 is a flowchart of one embodiment of a method for profiling clients within the method for harvesting community knowledge;

[0029]FIG. 5 is a pictorial diagram of one embodiment of a “View/Edit Declared Profile” window within the system; and

[0030]FIG. 6 is a pictorial diagram of another embodiment of a “View/Edit Declared Profile” window within the system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0031] The present invention provides a mechanism for publicly, privately, or anonymously providing information to and harvesting information from a community of users and information resources. By preserving the privacy of users and their profiles, the present invention allows for the use of automatic profiling methods. These automatic methods eliminate a need for community members to laboriously maintain their own profiles in order to efficiently participate in the knowledge community. As a result, users' profiles are a rich body of information, and users do not face high participation costs. The invention also allows for anonymous questions and responses which further provides incentives for users to participate. As a result, the present invention ameliorates the free-riding problem, and creates a low-cost, useful, user-friendly environment for knowledge sharing and expertise exchange.

[0032]FIG. 2 is a dataflow diagram of one embodiment of a system 200 for harvesting community knowledge. FIG. 3 is a flowchart of one embodiment of a method 300 for harvesting community knowledge. FIGS. 2 and 3 are herein discussed together. The system 200 includes a client computer 202 under the control of a user 204, and connected to a computer network 206. The client 202 both sends and receives messages respectively to and from other client computers and information sources via the network 206.

[0033] When a client computer generates and sends a message such client computer is herein alternately called a sending client, and when a client computer receives a message, such client computer is herein alternately called a receiving client. Preferably all client computers on the network include the same functionality, which is now described with respect to the client computer 202, however some receiving clients may not currently have the present invention's software installed.

[0034] User Profiling

[0035] User profiling by the present invention, enables the system 200 to capture historical information about the user 204, as well as real-time information as the user 204 goes about their daily digital business. This knowledge is expressed indirectly in the user's 204 behavior and data stored on the client computer 202 and from the user 204 and client computer 202 interactions with the network 206.

[0036] The present invention uses an observer module 208 to automatically compile and store user profile information in a client profile 210. The client profile 210 is generated using systematic, objective and repeatable methods which can be adjusted and modified to suit any number of user environments and/or information processing end goals. Since the client profile 210 is automatically created, the user 204 is relieved from the arduous task of having to manually build their own profile. This dramatically reduces participation costs for all users of the present invention, while ensuring that the user's profile is constantly kept up to date.

[0037] Preferably, more than one data source or set of data items are profiled in order to generate a multi-dimensional understanding of the user's 204 knowledge and that the resultant user profile is of a high quality. This is because singular sources of data, such as e-mail, tend not to fully reflect a user's interests and expertise. Also, since user profiles are preferably generated on each user's own computer 202, no new hardware resources need be purchased in order to implement the present invention.

[0038] The method 300 begins in step 302 with the observer module 208 generating and maintaining the client profile 210 on the client computer 202. Step 302 is now described in more detail in FIG. 4.

[0039]FIG. 4 is a flowchart of one embodiment of a method 400 for profiling clients within the method 300 for harvesting community knowledge. The profiling method 400 begins in step 402 wherein the observer module 208 accesses a predetermined set of data targets for building the client profile 210. The set of data targets are preferably selected to provide a robust source of data for processing into a meaningful and versatile client profile 210. The data targets include information stored on the client computer 202, information accessible over the network 206, as well as which can be obtained by monitoring the user's 204 activities on the computer 202 and over the network 206.

[0040] Next in step 404, the observer module 208 spawns an observer sub-process for each data target in the set. Depending upon the data target, some of the sub-process must, in step 406, collect certain ephemeral information in real-time. Such ephemeral information may include temporarily cached data which is deleted after the data target terminates operations, network traffic information, as well as information received by the data target, such as e-mails or messages, which the user 204 subsequently deletes before said information can be permanently saved. However, information otherwise saved within a storage resource may be retrieved as needed, in step 408.

[0041] In step 410, the observer 208 analyzes the collected and retrieved information using data mining techniques. In step 412, structured data items within the collected and/or retrieved information, such as e-mail addresses or URLs, are stored in dedicated fields within the client profile 210. Unstructured data items within the collected and retrieved information, such as pure text, however are first statistically analyzed. The statistical analysis includes, first identifying a set of keywords and a set of key phrases within the unstructured data items, in step 414, and then, calculating a frequency of occurrence for each keyword and key phrase within the data item, in step 416. In step 418, the keywords, key phrases, and their respective calculated frequencies of occurrence are then stored in the client profile 210. If the keyword or key phrase already exists within the client profile 210, their frequencies of occurrence are combined. Preferably, the unstructured data itself is not stored within the client profile 210. The client profile 210 data structure is preferably that of a relational database upon which queries can be easily performed.

[0042] Thus the present invention's observer 208, by collecting, retrieving, and analyzing, information from the data targets, effectively captures the user's 204 tacit knowledge, which the user 204 themselves may not even be conscious of having knowledge, expertise, or an interest in.

[0043] In step 420, the client profile 210 may at the user's 204 discretion be supplemented with additional information provided explicitly by the user 204.

[0044]FIG. 5 is a pictorial diagram 500 of one embodiment of a “View/Edit Declared Profile” window 502 within the system 200 for allowing the user 204 to supplement the client profile 210. The window 502 includes a self-description field 504 for the user 204 to explicitly describe themselves, and input their knowledge, expertise, and interests as a series of comma separated information strings. The user 204 may also add any other information which the user 204 deems relevant to other users on the network 206. A submit description button 506 adds the self-description field 504 to the client profile 210.

[0045]FIG. 6 is a pictorial diagram 600 of another embodiment of a “View/Edit Declared Profile” window 602 within the system 200. The window 602 also includes a self-description field 602 and a submit description button 606 which function in a similar manner to the embodiment 502 described above, however, the window 602 also includes a “The last 10 emails you sent” field 608 and a “Last 10 urls you have visited” field 610. “The last 10 emails you sent” field 608 and the “Last 10 urls you have visited” field 610 are two of the structured data items collected and stored by the observer module 208 according to step 412 of the profile generation method 400. They are provided here for the user's 204 benefit. The user 204 may select and delete individual entries if desired through a search/delete interface.

[0046] In order to maximize the user's 204 privacy and thereby encourage broad user participation within the information market, the client profile 210 is preferably stored only on the client computer 202, however the profile 210 may also be stored remotely either in encrypted or password protected form and viewable only by the user 204. Also to toward this goal, the user 204 is also preferably given an option of erasing their client profile 210, or having the observer 208 rebuild a new client profile for the user 204. A high degree of user privacy encourages users to permit the system 200 to build very rich user profiles which go far beyond those users would otherwise voluntarily disclose to a central database.

[0047] The following data targets are preferably included within the predetermined set of data targets mentioned in step 402. Specific preferred processing techniques for each of these data targets are also discussed. Those skilled in the art however will recognize that many additional data targets and processing techniques may also be employed and that a particular mix of data targets and processing techniques which yield a best client profile may vary with the set of users and network configuration to which the present invention is applied.

[0048] Message Data Targets:

[0049] Message data targets include messages routed over the peer-to-peer 226 and central server 224 networks, as well as e-mail messages routed over the e-mail network 222. E-mail is one of the most fundamental and prevalent forms of communication today and as such is considered to be a good source of user profile information. E-mail sub-processes within the observer module 208 access the e-mail messages 221 transmitted and received by the e-mail client 230 over the e-mail network 222.

[0050] Structured data items from the e-mail which are preferably stored in the client profile 210 include: the email addresses, domains, and identities for the sender and all of the recipient's; and message timestamps.

[0051] Unstructured e-mail data, consisting mainly of the body of an e-mail message, are processed according to the statistical techniques discussed above, into keywords, key phrases, and frequencies of occurrence before being stored in the client profile 210.

[0052] Behavioral data preferably stored include: which e-mails or messages the user 204 reads, stores, deletes, and/or ignores. Those e-mails or messages which the user 204 reads or stores becomes part of the user's 204 “positive-profile.” Whereas those e-mails and messages which the user 204 either deletes or ignores becomes part of the user's 204 “negative-profile.” Messages processed by either the peer-to-peer 226 or central server 224 networks are similarly processed and added to the client profile 210.

[0053] Information Browsing Data Targets:

[0054] Information browsing data targets monitored by sub-processes within the observer module 208 include: data a files transmitted to or downloaded from the peer-to-peer 226 and central server 224 networks, client files 214 viewed, modified, or deleted by the user, such as word processing, spreadsheet and other files; as well as web page information routed over the web 218 by the internet client 232 into the web page cache 217.

[0055] Structured data items which are preferably stored in the client profile 210 include: URLs stored in the user's 204 bookmark and/or favorites file; web pages visited by the user or stored in the web page cache 217; identifying information from client files 214 accessed by the user 204; and time and frequency of visitation to said web pages or client files 214.

[0056] Unstructured data, consisting mainly of the body of the web pages visited and client files 214 accessed by the user, is also processed according to the statistical techniques discussed above, into keywords, key phrases, and frequencies of occurrence before being stored in the client profile 210.

[0057] Behavioral data preferably stored include: web surfing patterns and browsing behavior.

[0058] Installed Hardware and Software Data Targets:

[0059] Installed hardware and software data targets monitored by sub-processes within the observer module 208 include the client hardware 211 and software 212 installed on the computer 202. The client software 212 includes the e-mail client 230 and the internet client 232.

[0060] Structured data items which are preferably stored in the client profile 210 include: hardware 211 device information; software 212 installation and operational information, available in part from registry files within the computer 202; and dates of installation for each hardware device and software process.

[0061] Behavioral data preferably stored include: user interactions with the installed hardware 211 and software 212, such as frequency of use or reconfiguration.

[0062] Other Data Targets:

[0063] Other information sources which the observer 208 may access in order to build the client profile 210 include: user information stored in remote enterprise directories and on the central server 224. For example, user information stored within a LDAP enterprise directory can be accessed by the observer module 208 over the network 206. The user information stored on the LDAP server may include the user's department number, location, and other human resources information.

[0064] Message Generation

[0065] Next to be described is a system and method for generating messages in step 304 using the present invention. Messages are herein defined to include a wide variety of communications known to those skilled in the art, including any communication seeking, sending, and/or culling information from an information market. Thus messages can include questions, announcements, and/or information processing routines.

[0066] To begin, the user 204 accesses a user interface module 228. The user interface module 228 preferably includes a set of software modules for interfacing with the user 204. Such modules at a minimum include the e-mail client 230, which stores a predetermined set of e-mail messages 221, and the Internet client 232, which stores information in the web page cache 217. These two modules 230 and 232 provide the user 204 with alternate ways of using the present invention and preferably, both contain similar functionality, such as text windows and folders for storing messages both sent and received.

[0067] Through the user interface module 228, the user 204 initiates the message generating process, such as by clicking on an “Ask a Question” button in a toolbar within the user interface. In response, the user interface module 228 displays a number of pre-defined message types to the user 204.

[0068] After a message has been generated it is preferably assigned a globally unique identifier and stored in a messages database 236. A private-public key pair is preferably generated for each new message. The public key is then sent with the message so that a receiving client can encrypt their response, ensuring that only the user 204, having the corresponding private key, can decrypt and view such response. This provides a further level of security and privacy within the present invention.

[0069] The network module 216 periodically scans the message database 236 for new messages generated by the user 204. Then in step 306, a network protocol module 219 formats the new message according to an XML (Extensible Markup Language) protocol for transmission by the network module 216 over the network 206. Both a client computer sending the message and a client computer receiving the message must be apprised of the particular XML protocol used to format the message, in order for communication to occur.

[0070] Preferably the peer-to-peer network 226 is limited to an enterprise's intranet so that only a predetermined set of client computers on the network 206 may have an opportunity to respond to the message. By limiting the scope of users allowed to see messages, a baseline level of confidentiality, expertise, and/or message response integrity may be maintained. For instance, the scope of users may be limited to only those who are employed within a particular enterprise, who belong to a particular professional society, or who are students and one or more universities. The exact scope of users will thus depend upon a particular application of the present invention.

[0071] In alternate embodiments, messages may be transmitted over global e-mail and/or web networks, but in an encrypted format which again limits the scope of users. In other embodiments, there may be no limits on the scope of users who may be given an opportunity to respond to the messages.

[0072] Message Transmission

[0073] Next in step 308, the network module 216 transmits the message over a predetermined portion of the computer network 206. As mentioned above, when the computer client 202 transmits a message over the network 206 it is called a sending client, while when the computer client 202 receives a message over the network 206 it is called a receiving client. Thus in normal operation, all client computers function as both sending and receiving clients.

[0074] While messages transmitted over the peer-to-peer network 226 achieve a high level of anonymity, many messages will likely be transmitted over the e-mail network 222 or displayed on a web 218 site in order to advertise the present invention and thereby build-up the peer-to-peer network 226.

[0075] However, regardless of over which network portion the message is sent, each receiving client having the present invention installed stores a copy of the XML encoded message in their respective messages database.

[0076] Message Filtering and Scoring

[0077] For purpose of the discussion to follow, functionality within the client computer 202 for processing received messages is discussed as if the client computer 202 was one of the receiving client computers. Such a context switch is appropriate because preferably each client computer contains a complete and self contained version of the present invention's software.

[0078] Thus in step 310, the system module 234 within the client computer 202 retrieves, and commands a filtering/scoring module 238 to filter and score, newly received messages which have been stored in the messages database 236.

[0079] In order to perform filtering and scoring, the filtering/scoring module 238 compares the message with information stored in the user's 204 client profile 210. If necessary however, the message may be compared with data stored elsewhere in the client computer 202, such as in the e-mail client 230, the e-mail messages 221, the internet client 232, the web page cache 217, the client software 212, the client files 214, and the client messages 236.

[0080] A received message is filtered by the filtering/scoring module 238 when such message contains a predetermined set of criteria, inserted by the message sending client, in order to target selected receiving clients. Such filtering criteria is preferably very flexible and is left at the discretion of the sending client user. For example, the filtering criteria may look for a particular data string, or at some other information within a receiving client's client profile 210.

[0081] In an alternate embodiment however, a client profile 210 which does not meet the filtering criteria merely results in a low message score. In this way, a message which does not meet the filtering criteria does not automatically prevent the user 204 from seeing the message. In such embodiments an overall weighted average score may be generated which depends upon not only all of the filtering criteria, but also the message's score. How the message's score is generated is discussed next.

[0082] The filtering/scoring module 238 preferably scores messages using statistical information retrieval techniques, including linguistic analysis. Information retrieval techniques are commonly known to be used for accessing and analyzing large blocks of data and then extracting all or selected portions of such data according to a wide variety of methods. Messages which include structured or unstructured data items, which are within the user's 204 positive-profile, tend to increase the message's score. While messages which include structured and unstructured data items, which are within the user's 204 negative-profile, tend to decrease the message's score.

[0083] Other techniques for scoring the messages are also known to those skilled in the art.

[0084] While the above filtering and scoring discussion assumes the message was received over the peer-to-peer network 226, messages received over the e-mail network 222 as well as by other paths within the network 206 are similarly filtered and scored if the receiving client has the present invention's software installed.

[0085] For example, receiving clients who have the present invention's software already installed and have received an e-mail message containing an embedded XML message, have a copy of the embedded message placed in their messages database 236 so that the message can be filtered and scored. Receiving clients who do not have the present invention's software installed, however, only see the e-mail message in their standard e-mail inbox, and no other processing is performed.

[0086] Thus the filtering and scoring techniques of the present invention in combination with the rich client profiles stored on each receiving client's computer are together what enable messages to be brought to the attention of the right set of users.

[0087] Such intelligently targeted messaging, however, also builds user confidence in and reliance on the present invention. This is because unlike in conventional systems where users often have to wade though in-boxes full of junk or marginally useful email, users using the present invention generally know and rely on the fact that their time will not be wasted on such unimportant messages. Instead users of the present invention will be even more likely to timely respond to messages received because the messages will be so on-point to their expertise and/or interests.

[0088] For example, in the past when a sending client needed to identify appropriate participants to participate in an experiment, or submit papers for a seminar, the user would clumsily post an advertisement on a web or other site, and/or send out a generalized e-mail to a very large distribution list. In such cases, targeted users often miss the importance of or are annoyed by such communications which are buried in a sea of information they already are trying to sift through. In contrast, the present invention automatically performs the necessary sifting so that if a user receives a message using the present invention, such message will be useful to them.

[0089] Message Display and Response

[0090] In step 312, the received message is displayed to the receiving client if the message has not been filtered out and/or if the message score exceeds a predetermined threshold. Messages are preferably displayed to the receiving client according to their respective score. As discussed above, the score represents a likelihood that the receiving client will find the message relevant to or within their expertise.

[0091] The receiving client then may select and respond to one of the messages. In step 314 a response from the receiving client is sent over the network 206 back to the sending client anonymously or in an encrypted format. After step 314 the preferred method ends.

[0092] Processing Information From Other Sources Using The Present Invention

[0093] While the present invention has been discussed with respect to the generation, transmission and response to messages, the present inventions' user profiling and scoring functionality is equally applicable toward processing other types of information as well. Other information includes data displayed within a current web page being viewed by the user 204. A relevance vector could be generated from said web page data and compared to the user's 204 expertise vector generated from the client profile 210. User's would be notified of a particular relevance of the currently viewed web page if the relevance and expertise vectors when compared yield a score which exceeds a predetermined threshold. In this way user's browsing the web could be apprised of particular web pages which may closely align with their interests and/or expertise.

[0094] Other information similarly processed and scored may include: normal e-mail messages which have not been generated using the present inventions' functionality; files downloaded from the central server 224 or received from some other source; or expertise information stored on a central enterprise database. Those skilled in the art will know of other information sources to which the present invention may also be successfully applied.

[0095] While one or more embodiments of the present invention have been described, those skilled in the art will recognize that various modifications may be made. Variations upon and modifications to these embodiments are provided by the present invention, which is limited only by the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7389290Jul 31, 2002Jun 17, 2008Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.System and method for scoring new messages based on previous responses within a system for harvesting community knowledge
US7890581 *Aug 20, 2003Feb 15, 2011Ip Holdings, Inc.Matching network system for mobile devices
US8037144 *May 25, 2005Oct 11, 2011Google Inc.Electronic message source reputation information system
US8055753 *Jun 11, 2003Nov 8, 2011International Business Machines CorporationPeer to peer job monitoring and control in grid computing systems
US8069208 *Apr 21, 2006Nov 29, 2011Microsoft CorporationPeer-to-peer buddy request and response
US8140502Jun 27, 2008Mar 20, 2012Microsoft CorporationPreserving individual information privacy by providing anonymized customer data
US8234346Dec 30, 2010Jul 31, 2012Ip Holdings, Inc.Social network and matching network search engine
US8549061Jul 26, 2012Oct 1, 2013Ip Holdings, Inc.Social media system with multiple profiles
US20110072128 *Sep 20, 2009Mar 24, 2011International Business Machines CorporationAutomated presence ranking for communications networks
US20130035944 *Aug 2, 2011Feb 7, 2013General Instrument CorporationPersonalizing communications based on an estimated sensitivity level of the recipient
US20130036173 *Aug 2, 2011Feb 7, 2013General Instrument CorporationPersonalizing communications using estimates of the recipient's sensitivity level derived from responses to communications
US20130041906 *Aug 7, 2012Feb 14, 2013Eytan AdarSystem and method for profiling clients within a system for harvesting community knowledge
WO2011163145A2 *Jun 20, 2011Dec 29, 2011Microsoft CorporationDelivering messages from message sources to subscribing recipients
Classifications
U.S. Classification709/206, 709/224
International ClassificationG06Q10/00, H04L29/06, H04L29/08, G09B7/00
Cooperative ClassificationH04L69/329, H04L67/22, G09B7/00, H04L29/06, G06Q10/10
European ClassificationG06Q10/10, G09B7/00, H04L29/08N21, H04L29/06
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 18, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P., COLORAD
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:013776/0928
Effective date: 20030131
Owner name: HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P.,COLORADO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100203;REEL/FRAME:13776/928
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100330;REEL/FRAME:13776/928
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100406;REEL/FRAME:13776/928
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100413;REEL/FRAME:13776/928
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100420;REEL/FRAME:13776/928
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100504;REEL/FRAME:13776/928
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100518;REEL/FRAME:13776/928
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:13776/928
Jul 30, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY, COLORADO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ADAR, EYTAN;LUKOSE, RAJAN MATHEW;TYLER, JOSHUA ROGERS;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:013150/0669
Effective date: 20020322