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Publication numberUS20040260680 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/464,892
Publication dateDec 23, 2004
Filing dateJun 19, 2003
Priority dateJun 19, 2003
Also published asUS7865494, US20070271247
Publication number10464892, 464892, US 2004/0260680 A1, US 2004/260680 A1, US 20040260680 A1, US 20040260680A1, US 2004260680 A1, US 2004260680A1, US-A1-20040260680, US-A1-2004260680, US2004/0260680A1, US2004/260680A1, US20040260680 A1, US20040260680A1, US2004260680 A1, US2004260680A1
InventorsSteven Best, Michael Brown, Michael Cooper
Original AssigneeInternational Business Machines Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Personalized indexing and searching for information in a distributed data processing system
US 20040260680 A1
Abstract
Personalized searching for information in a distributed data processing system including providing in a search portal a personal search term list for a user, the personal search term list comprising search keywords known to be of interest to the user; receiving from the user a navigation identification message comprising a navigation location; and creating a personalized search index in dependence upon the navigation location and the contents of the personal search term list, wherein the personalized search index comprises index records comprising time stamps. Typical embodiments also comprise receiving in the search portal from the user a navigation request message comprising a navigation direction; creating, in dependence upon the personalized search index, the navigation direction, and a last navigation time stamp, a response to the navigation request message; transmitting the response to the user; and updating the last navigation time stamp.
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Claims(30)
What is claimed is:
1. A method of personalized searching for information in a distributed data processing system, the method comprising:
providing in a search portal a personal search term list for a user, the personal search term list comprising search keywords known to be of interest to the user;
receiving from the user a navigation identification message comprising a navigation location; and
creating a personalized search index in dependence upon the navigation location and the contents of the personal search term list, wherein the personalized search index comprises index records, each index record comprising a time stamp.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the time stamp comprises an indication of the date and time of the receiving of the navigation identification message.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the personalized search index comprises a search index further comprising a user identification for the search portal, the user identification for the search portal comprising data uniquely identifying the user as among other users of the search portal.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein the navigation identification message further comprises a search keyword and creating a personalized search index further comprises indexing the search keyword with the navigation location and a time stamp in the personalized search index.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein creating a personalized search index further comprises:
retrieving a document from the navigation location;
identifying search keywords from the personal search term list that occur in the retrieved document; and
indexing in the personalized search index the navigation location, a time stamp, and keywords from the personal search term list that occur in the retrieved documents.
6. The method of claim 1 further comprising establishing a user account for the user on the search portal, the user account comprising user identification unique to the user and a last navigation time stamp.
7. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
receiving in the search portal from the user a navigation request message comprising a navigation direction;
creating, in dependence upon the personalized search index, the navigation direction, and a last navigation time stamp, a response to the navigation request message;
transmitting the response to the user; and
updating the last navigation time stamp.
8. The method of claim 7 wherein creating a response comprises:
retrieving, from user account data, a last navigation time stamp;
retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp from the user account data and the navigation direction; and
retrieving the document identified by the navigation location;
wherein transmitting the response to the user comprises transmitting the document to the user.
9. The method of claim 8 wherein the navigation request message further comprises a navigation interval and retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index further comprises retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp from the user account data, the navigation direction, and the navigation interval.
10. The method of claim 1 further comprising:
creating a subset of the personalized search index; and
making the subset available to users for remote playback.
11. A system for personalized searching for information in a distributed data processing system, the system comprising:
means for providing in a search portal a personal search term list for a user, the personal search term list comprising search keywords known to be of interest to the user;
means for receiving from the user a navigation identification message comprising a navigation location; and
means for creating a personalized search index in dependence upon the navigation location and the contents of the personal search term list, wherein the personalized search index comprises index records, each index record comprising a time stamp.
12. The system of claim 11 wherein the time stamp comprises an indication of the date and time of a receiving of the navigation identification message.
13. The system of claim 11 wherein the personalized search index comprises a search index further comprising a user identification for the search portal, the user identification for the search portal comprising data uniquely identifying the user as among other users of the search portal.
14. The system of claim 11 wherein the navigation identification message further comprises a search keyword and means for creating a personalized search index further comprises means for indexing the search keyword with the navigation location and a time stamp in the personalized search index.
15. The system of claim 11 wherein means for creating a personalized search index further comprises:
means for retrieving a document from the navigation location;
means for identifying search keywords from the personal search term list that occur in the retrieved document; and
means for indexing in the personalized search index the navigation location, a time stamp, and keywords from the personal search term list that occur in the retrieved documents.
16. The system of claim 11 further comprising means for establishing a user account for the user on the search portal, the user account comprising user identification unique to the user and a last navigation time stamp.
17. The system of claim 11 further comprising:
means for receiving in the search portal from the user a navigation request message comprising a navigation direction;
means for creating, in dependence upon the personalized search index, the navigation direction, and a last navigation time stamp, a response to the navigation request message;
means for transmitting the response to the user; and
means for updating the last navigation time stamp.
18. The system of claim 17 wherein means for creating a response comprises:
means for retrieving, from user account data, a last navigation time stamp;
means for retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp from the user account data and the navigation direction; and
means for retrieving the document identified by the navigation location;
wherein means for transmitting the response to the user comprises means for transmitting the document to the user.
19. The system of claim 17 wherein the navigation request message further comprises a navigation interval and means for retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index further comprises means for retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp from the user account data, the navigation direction, and the navigation interval.
20. The system of claim 11 further comprising:
means for creating a subset of the personalized search index; and
means for making the subset available to users for remote playback.
21. A computer program product for personalized searching for information in a distributed data processing system, the computer program product comprising:
a recording medium;
means, recorded on the recording medium, for providing in a search portal a personal search term list for a user, the personal search term list comprising search keywords known to be of interest to the user;
means, recorded on the recording medium, for receiving from the user a navigation identification message comprising a navigation location; and
means, recorded on the recording medium, for creating a personalized search index in dependence upon the navigation location and the contents of the personal search term list, wherein the personalized search index comprises index records, each index record comprising a time stamp.
22. The computer program product of claim 21 wherein the time stamp comprises an indication of the date and time of a receiving of the navigation identification message.
23. The computer program product of claim 21 wherein the personalized search index comprises a search index further comprising a user identification for the search portal, the user identification for the search portal comprising data uniquely identifying the user as among other users of the search portal.
24. The computer program product of claim 21 wherein the navigation identification message further comprises a search keyword and means for creating a personalized search index further comprises means, recorded on the recording medium, for indexing the search keyword with the navigation location and a time stamp in the personalized search index.
25. The computer program product of claim 21 wherein means for creating a personalized search index further comprises:
means, recorded on the recording medium, for retrieving a document from the navigation location;
means, recorded on the recording medium, for identifying search keywords from the personal search term list that occur in the retrieved document; and
means, recorded on the recording medium, for indexing in the personalized search index the navigation location, a time stamp, and keywords from the personal search term list that occur in the retrieved documents.
26. The computer program product of claim 21 further comprising means, recorded on the recording medium, for establishing a user account for the user on the search portal, the user account comprising user identification unique to the user and a last navigation time stamp.
27. The computer program product of claim 21 further comprising:
means, recorded on the recording medium, for receiving in the search portal from the user a navigation request message comprising a navigation direction;
means, recorded on the recording medium, for creating, in dependence upon the personalized search index, the navigation direction, and a last navigation time stamp, a response to the navigation request message;
means for transmitting the response to the user; and
means, recorded on the recording medium, for updating the last navigation time stamp.
28. The computer program product of claim 27 wherein means for creating a response comprises:
means, recorded on the recording medium, for retrieving, from user account data, a last navigation time stamp;
means, recorded on the recording medium, for retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp from the user account data and the navigation direction; and
means, recorded on the recording medium, for retrieving the document identified by the navigation location;
wherein means for transmitting the response to the user comprises means, recorded on the recording medium, for transmitting the document to the user.
29. The computer program product of claim 27 wherein the navigation request message further comprises a navigation interval and means for retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index further comprises means, recorded on the recording medium, for retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp from the user account data, the navigation direction, and the navigation interval.
30. The computer program product of claim 21 further comprising:
means, recorded on the recording medium, for creating a subset of the personalized search index; and
means, recorded on the recording medium, for making the subset available to users for remote playback.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The field of the invention is data processing, or, more specifically, methods, systems, and products for personalized indexing and searching for information in a distributed data processing system.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] An example from current art of a large distributed data processing system is the World Wide Web. Search engines on the web are basically massive full-text indexes of millions of web pages. These search engines are specialized software programs specialized to receive search query messages from users or from users' browsers, where the search query messages comprise keywords or search terms. Search engines formulate, or ‘parse,’ the query messages into database queries against web search databases comprising massive search indexes.

[0005] The web includes many web sites comprising many millions of web pages, each of which is a document specially structured in a markup language, such as, for example, HTML, WML, HDML, and so on, to support some hyperlinking in some data communications protocol, such as, for example, HTTP, WAP, HDTP, and so on. The search indexes for the search engines are created by software robots called ‘spiders’ or ‘crawlers’ that survey the web and retrieve documents for indexing. The indexing itself is often carried out by another software engine that takes as its input the pages gathered by spiders, extracts keywords according to some algorithm, and creates index entries based upon the keywords and URLs identifying the indexed documents.

[0006] That is, spiders gather documents into a documents database, identifying the documents to be gathered from a URL list in the documents database or through hyperlinks in the documents themselves or through other methods. Spiders take as their inputs the entire web and produce as outputs documents to be indexed. Indexing engines take as their inputs documents to be indexed and produce as their outputs search indexes. Search engines take as inputs search indexes and search request messages bearing search terms and produce as their outputs search result messages for return to requesting users' browsers.

[0007] In current art, spiders gather documents with no regard for individual users' interests or history of web navigation. In current art, index engines create search indexes with no regard for individual users' interests or history of web navigation. In current art, search engines create responses to search queries from users with no regard for individual users' interests or history of web navigation. If searches could be performed with regard for individual users' interests or history of web navigation, searches could be better focused and search results could be more pertinent to users' purposes in searching for information. There are ongoing needs for improvement, therefore, in searching and indexing information in large distributed data processing system like the web.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] Methods, systems, and products are disclosed for personalized searching for information in a distributed data processing system including providing in a search portal a personal search term list for a user, the personal search term list comprising search keywords known to be of interest to the user; receiving from the user a navigation identification message comprising a navigation location; and creating a personalized search index in dependence upon the navigation location and the contents of the personal search term list, wherein the personalized search index comprises index records, each index record comprising a time stamp. A time stamp typically comprises an indication of the date and time of the receiving of the navigation identification message. A personalized search index typically comprises a search index further comprising a user identification for the search portal, the user identification for the search portal comprising data uniquely identifying the user as among other users of the search portal. A navigation identification message typically includes a search keyword and creating a personalized search index typically also includes indexing the search keyword with the navigation location and a time stamp in the personalized search index.

[0009] In typical embodiments, creating a personalized search index further comprises retrieving a document from the navigation location; identifying search keywords from the personal search term list that occur in the retrieved document; and indexing in the personalized search index the navigation location, a time stamp, and keywords from the personal search term list that occur in the retrieved documents. Typical embodiments often also include establishing a user account for the user on the search portal, the user account comprising user identification unique to the user and a last navigation time stamp.

[0010] Typical embodiments also include receiving in the search portal from the user a navigation request message comprising a navigation direction; creating, in dependence upon the personalized search index, the navigation direction, and a last navigation time stamp, a response to the navigation request message; transmitting the response to the user; and updating the last navigation time stamp. In such embodiments, creating a response typically includes retrieving, from user account data, a last navigation time stamp; retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp from the user account data and the navigation direction; and retrieving the document identified by the navigation location. Transmitting the response to the user typically include transmitting the document to the user.

[0011] In many embodiments, a navigation request message further comprises a navigation interval and retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index further comprises retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp from the user account data, the navigation direction, and the navigation interval. Many embodiments include creating a subset of the personalized search index and making the subset available to users for remote playback.

[0012] The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular descriptions of exemplary embodiments of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numbers generally represent like parts of exemplary embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013]FIG. 1 depicts an architecture for a distributed data processing system in which various embodiments of the present invention may be implemented.

[0014]FIG. 2 sets forth a block diagram of computer useful in systems for indexing and searching for information in distributed data processing systems according to embodiments of the present invention.

[0015]FIG. 3 depicts an exemplary software architecture in which methods, systems, and products may be implemented according to embodiments of the present invention.

[0016]FIG. 4 depicts a further exemplary software architecture in which methods, systems, and products may be implemented according to embodiments of the present invention.

[0017]FIG. 5 shows an exemplary personalized search index.

[0018]FIG. 6 sets forth a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method of personalized searching for information in a distributed data processing system.

[0019]FIG. 7 sets forth a flow chart illustrating methods of providing a personal search term list.

[0020]FIG. 8 sets forth a flow chart illustrating exemplary methods of inserting index records in a personalized search index.

[0021]FIG. 9 sets forth a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method of operating a history navigation engine advantageously in dependence upon a personalized search index.

[0022]FIG. 10 shows a further exemplary personalized search index.

[0023]FIG. 11 sets forth a flow chart illustrating a further method of searching for information in a distributed data processing system according to personalized navigation history.

[0024]FIG. 12 sets forth a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method of operating a history navigation engine advantageously in dependence upon subsets of a personalized search index.

[0025]FIG. 13 depicts an exemplary GUI on a client running a data communication application.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS Introduction

[0026] The present invention is described to a large extent in this specification in terms of methods for personalized indexing and searching for information in a distributed data processing system. Persons skilled in the art, however, will recognize that any computer system that includes suitable programming means for operating in accordance with the disclosed methods also falls well within the scope of the present invention.

[0027] Suitable programming means include any means for directing a computer system to execute the steps of the method of the invention, including for example, systems comprised of processing units and arithmetic-logic circuits coupled to computer memory, which systems have the capability of storing in computer memory, which computer memory includes electronic circuits configured to store data and program instructions, programmed steps of the method of the invention for execution by a processing unit. The invention also may be embodied in a computer program product, such as a diskette or other recording medium, for use with any suitable data processing system.

[0028] Embodiments of a computer program product may be implemented by use of any recording medium for machine-readable information, including magnetic media, optical media, or other suitable media. Persons skilled in the art will immediately recognize that any computer system having suitable programming means will be capable of executing the steps of the method of the invention as embodied in a program product. Persons skilled in the art will recognize immediately that, although most of the exemplary embodiments described in this specification are oriented to software installed and executing on computer hardware, nevertheless, alternative embodiments implemented as firmware or as hardware are well within the scope of the present invention.

Definitions

[0029] In this specification, the terms “field,” “data element,” and “attribute,” unless the context indicates otherwise, generally are used as synonyms, referring to individual elements of information, typically represented as digital data. Aggregates of data elements are referred to as “records” or “data structures.” Aggregates of records are referred to as “tables” or “files.” Aggregates of files or tables are referred to as “databases.” In the context of tables, fields may be referred to as “columns,” and records may be referred to as “rows.” Complex data structures that include member methods, functions, or software routines as well as data elements are referred to as “classes.” Instances of classes are referred to as “objects” or “class objects.”

[0030] “802.11” refers to a family of specifications developed by the IEEE for wireless LAN technology. 802.11 specifies an over-the-air interface between a wireless client and a base station or between two wireless clients. Specification 802.11b, also known as ‘802.11 High Rate’ or ‘Wi Fi,’ provides wireless network functionality similar to Ethernet.

[0031] “Browser” means a web browser, a communications application for locating and displaying web pages. Browsers typically comprise a markup language interpreter, web page display routines, and an HTTP communications client. Typical browsers today can display text, graphics, audio and video. Browsers are operative in network-enabled devices, including wireless network-enabled devices such as network-enabled PDAs and mobile telephones. Browsers in wireless network-enabled devices often are downsized browsers called “microbrowsers.” Microbrowsers in wireless network-enabled devices often support markup languages other than HTML, including for example, WML, the Wireless Markup Language.

[0032] “CGI” means “Common Gateway Interface,” a standard technology for data communications of resources between web servers and web clients. More specifically, CGI provides a standard interface between servers and server-side ‘gateway’ programs which administer actual reads and writes of data to and from files systems and databases.

[0033] “Client,” “client device,” or “client computer” refers to any computer, any automated computing machinery, used according to embodiments of the present invention to prepare and communicate search queries or search query messages and, in return, receive and display search results or responses. Examples of client devices are personal computers, PDAs, mobile telephones, laptop computers, and others as will occur to those of skill in the art. Various embodiments of client devices support wireline communications or wireless communications. The use as a client device of any instrument capable of administering search queries and search results is well within the present invention.

[0034] A “communications application” is any data communications software capable of operating couplings for data communications to send and receive search query messages and search responses, including browsers, microbrowsers, special purpose data communications systems, and others as will occur to those of skill in the art. “Coupled for data communications” means any form of data communications, wireless, 802.11b, Bluetooth, infrared, radio, internet protocols such as TCP/IP, HTTP protocols, email protocols, networked, direct connections, dedicated phone lines, dial-ups, serial connections with RS-232 (EIA232) or Universal Serial Buses, hard-wired parallel port connections, network connections according to the Power Line Protocol, and other forms of connection for data communications as will occur to those of skill in the art. Couplings for data communications include networked couplings for data communications. Examples of networks useful with various embodiments of the invention include cable networks, intranets, extranets, internets, local area networks, wide area networks, and other network arrangements as will occur to those of skill in the art.

[0035] “CPU” means ‘central processing unit.’ The term ‘CPU’ as it is used in this disclosure includes any form of computer processing unit, regardless whether single, multiple, central, peripheral, or remote, in any form of automated computing machinery, including client devices, servers, and so on.

[0036] A “document” is any resource on any distributed data process system containing information amenable to indexing and searching according to embodiments of the present invention. Documents include static files in markup languages, such as static HTML files, as well as dynamically-generated content such as query results and output from CGI scripts and Java™ servlets, and output from dynamic server pages such as Active Server Pages, Java Server Pages, and others as will occur to those of skill in the art.

[0037] “GUI” means ‘graphical user interface.’

[0038] “HDML” stands for ‘Handheld Device Markup Language,’ a markup language used to format content for web-enabled mobile phones. HDML is proprietary to Openwave Systems, Inc., and can only be operated on phones that use Openwave browsers. Rather than WAP, HDML operates over Openwave's Handheld Device Transport Protocol (“HDTP”).

[0039] “HTML” stands for ‘HyperText Markup Language,’ a standard markup language for displaying web pages on browsers.

[0040] “HTTP” stands for ‘HyperText Transport Protocol,’ the standard data communications protocol of the World Wide Web.

[0041] A “hyperlink,” also referred to as “link” or “web link,” is a reference to a resource name or network address which when invoked allows the named resource or network address to be accessed. More particularly in terms of the present invention, invoking a hyperlink implements a request for access to a resource, generally a document. Often a hyperlink identifies a network address at which is stored a resource such as a web page or other document. Hyperlinks are often implemented as anchor elements in markup in documents. As the term is used in this specification, however, hyperlinks include links effected through anchors as well as URIs invoked through ‘back’ buttons on browsers, which do not involve anchors. Hyperlinks include URIs typed into address fields on browsers and invoked by a ‘Go’ button, also not involving anchors. In addition, although there is a natural tendency to think of hyperlinks as retrieving web pages, their use is broader than that. In fact, hyperlinks access “resources” generally available through hyperlinks including not only web pages but many other kinds of data as well as dynamically-generated server-side output from Java servlets, CGI scripts, and other resources as will occur to those of skill in the art.

[0042] “The Internet” is a global network connecting millions of computers utilizing the Internet Protocol’ or ‘IP’ as the network layer of their networking protocol stacks, and, typically, also using the Transmission Control Protocol or ‘TCP’ as the transport layer of their networking protocol stacks. The Internet is decentralized by design, a strong example of a distributed data processing system. An “internet” (uncapitalized) is any network using IP as the network layer in its network protocol stack.

[0043] “LAN” is an abbreviation for “local area network.” A LAN is a computer network that spans a relatively small area. Many LANs are confined to a single building or group of buildings. However, one LAN can be connected to other LANs over any distance via telephone lines and radio waves. A system of LANs connected in this way is called a wide-area network (“WAN”). The Internet is an example of a WAN.

[0044] “Network” is used in this specification to mean any networked coupling for data communications among computers or computer systems, clients, servers, and so on. Examples of networks useful with the invention include intranets, extranets, internets, local area networks, wide area networks, and other network arrangements as will occur to those of skill in the art.

[0045] “PDA” refers to a personal digital assistant, a handheld computer useful as a client according to embodiments of the present invention.

[0046] “Resource” means any aggregation of information administered in distributed processing systems according to embodiments of the present invention. Network communications protocols generally, for example, HTTP, transmit resources, not just files. A resource is an aggregation of information capable of being identified by a URI or URL. In fact, the ‘R’ in ‘URI’ stands for ‘Resource.’ The most common kind of resource is a file, but resources include dynamically-generated query results, the output of CGI scripts, dynamic server pages, and so on. It may sometimes be useful to think of a resource as similar to a file, but more general in nature. Files as resources include web pages, graphic image files, video clip files, audio clip files, files of data having any MIME type, and so on. As a practical matter, most HTTP resources, WAP resources, and the like are currently either files or server-side script output. Server side script output includes output from CGI programs, Java servlets, Active Server Pages, Java Server Pages, and so on.

[0047] “Server” in this specification refers to a computer or device comprising automated computing machinery on a network that manages resources, including documents, and requests for access to such resources. A “web server,” in particular is a server that communicates with client computers through communications applications, such as browsers or microbrowsers, by means of hyperlinking protocols such as HTTP, WAP, or HDTP, in order to manage and make available to networked computers documents, digital objects, and other resources.

[0048] “SQL” stands for ‘Structured Query Language,’ a standardized query language for requesting information from a database. Although there is an ANSI standard for SQL, as a practical matter, most versions of SQL tend to include many extensions. This specification provides examples of database queries against semantics-based search indexes expressed as pseudocode SQL. Such examples are said to be ‘pseudocode’ because they are not cast in any particular version of SQL and also because they are presented for purposes of explanation rather than as actual working models.

[0049] A “Java Servlet” is a program designed to be run from another program rather than directly from an operating system. “Servlets” in particular are designed to be run on servers from a conventional Java interface for servlets. Servlets are modules that extend request/response oriented servers, such as Java-enabled web servers. Java servlets are an alternative to CGI programs.

[0050] “TCP/IP” refers to two layers of a standard OSI data communications protocol stack. The network layer is implemented with the Internet Protocol, hence the initials ‘IP.’ And the transport layer is implemented with the Transport Control Protocol, referred to as ‘TCP.’ The two protocols are used together so frequently that they are often referred to as the TCP/IP suite, or, more simply, just ‘TCP/IP.’ TCP/IP is the standard data transport suite for the well-known world-wide network of computers called ‘the Internet.’

[0051] A “URI” or “Universal Resource Identifier” is an identifier of a named object in any namespace accessible through a network. URIs are functional for any access scheme, including for example, the File Transfer Protocol or “FTP,” Gopher, and the web. A URI as used in typical embodiments of the present invention usually includes an internet protocol address, or a domain name that resolves to an internet protocol address, identifying a location where a resource, particularly a document, a web page, a CGI script, or a servlet, is located on a network, often the Internet. URIs directed to particular resources, such as particular documents, HTML files, CGI scripts, or servlets, typically include a path name or file name locating and identifying a particular resource in a file system coupled through a server to a network. To the extent that a particular resource, such as a CGI file, a servlet, or a dynamic web page, is executable, for example to store or retrieve data, a URI often includes query parameters, or data to be stored, in the form of data encoded into the URI. Such parameters or data to be stored are referred to as ‘URI encoded data,’ or sometime as ‘form data.’

[0052] “URI encoded data” or “form data” is data packaged in a URI for data communications, a useful method for communicating variable names and values in a distributed data processing system such as the Internet. Form data is typically communicated in hyperlinking protocols, such as, for example, HTTP which uses GET and POST functions to transmit URI encoded data. In this context, it is useful to remember that URIs do more than merely request file transfers. URIs identify resources on servers. Such resource may be files having filenames, but the resources identified by URIs also may include, for example, queries to databases, including queries to search engines according to embodiments of the present invention. Results of such queries do not necessarily reside in files, but they are nevertheless data resources identified by URIs and identified by a search engine and query data that produce such resources. An example of URI encoded data is:

[0053] http://www.foo.com/cgi-bin/MyScript.cgi?field1=value1 &field2=value2

[0054] This example shows a URI bearing encoded data. The encoded data is the string “field1=value1&field2=value2.” The encoding method is to string field names and field values separated by ‘&’ and “=” with spaces represented by ‘+.’ There are no quote marks or spaces in the string. Having no quote marks, spaces are encoded with ‘+,’ and ‘&’ is encoded with an escape character, in this example, ‘%26.’ For example, if an HTML form has a field called “name” set to “Lucy”, and a field called “neighbors” set to “Fred & Ethel”, the data string encoding the form would be:

[0055] name=Lucy&neighbors=Fred+%26+Ethel

[0056] “URLs” or “Universal Resource Locators” comprise a kind of subset of URIs, such that each URL resolves to a network address. That is, URIs and URLs are distinguished in that URIs identify named objects in namespaces, where the names may or may not resolve to addresses, while URLs do resolve to addresses. Although standards today are written on the basis of URIs, it is still common to such see web-related identifiers, of the kind used to associate web data locations with network addresses for data communications, referred to as “URLs.” This specification uses the terms URI and URL more or less as synonyms.

[0057] “WAN” means ‘wide area network.’ One example of a WAN is the Internet.

[0058] “WAP” refers to the Wireless Application Protocol, a protocol for use with handheld wireless devices. Examples of wireless devices useful with WAP include mobile phones, pagers, two-way radios, hand-held computers, and PDAs. WAP supports many wireless networks, and WAP is supported by many operating systems. WAP supports HTML, XML, and particularly WML (the Wireless Markup Language), which is a language particularly designed for small screen and one-hand navigation without a keyboard or mouse. Operating systems specifically engineered for handheld devices include PalmOS, EPOC, Windows CE, FLEXOS, OS/9, and JavaOS. WAP devices that use displays and access the Internet run “microbrowsers.” The microbrowsers use small file sizes that can accommodate the low memory constraints of handheld devices and the low-bandwidth constraints of wireless networks.

[0059] “WML” stands for ‘Wireless Markup Language,’ an XML language used as a markup language for web content intended for wireless web-enabled devices that implement WAP. There is a WAP forum that provides a DTD for WML. A DTD is an XML ‘Document Type Definition.’

[0060] “World Wide Web,” or more simply “the web,” refers to a system of internet protocol (“IP”) servers that support specially formatted, hyperlinking documents, documents formatted in markup languages such as HTML, XML, WML, and HDML. The term “web” is used in this specification also to refer to any server or connected group or interconnected groups of servers that implement a hyperlinking protocol, such as HTTP, WAP, HDTP, or others, in support of URIs and documents in markup languages, regardless whether such servers or groups of servers are coupled to the World Wide Web as such.

[0061] “XML” stands for ‘extensible Markup Language,’ a language that support user-defined markup including user-defined elements, tags, and attributes. XML's extensibility contrasts with most web-related markup languages, such as HTML, which are not extensible, but which instead use a standard defined set of elements, tags, and attributes. XML's extensibility makes it a good foundation for defining other languages. WML, the Wireless Markup Language, for example, is a markup language based on XML. Modem browsers and other communications clients tend to support markup languages other than HTML, including, for example, XML.

Personalized Information Indexing

[0062] Exemplary methods, system, and products for personalized indexing of information in a distributed data processing system are now explained with reference to the accompanying drawings, beginning with FIG. 1. FIG. 1 depicts an architecture for a distributed data processing system in which various embodiments of the present invention may be implemented. The distributed data processing system of FIG. 1 includes a number of computers coupled for data communications in networks. The distributed data processing system of FIG. 1 includes networks 102, 104. Networks in such systems may comprise LANs, WANs, intranets, internets, the Internet, webs, and the World Wide Web itself. Such networks comprise media that may be used to provide couplings for data communications between various devices and computers connected together within a distributed data processing system. Such networks may include permanent couplings, such as wire or fiber optic cables, or temporary couplings made through wireline telephone or wireless communications.

[0063] In the example of FIG. 1, server 128 and server 104 are connected to network 102 along with storage unit 132. In addition, several exemplary client devices including a PDA 106, a workstation 108, and a mobile phone 110 are coupled for data communications to network 102. Network-enabled mobile phone 110 connects to network 102 through wireless link 116, and PDA 106 connects to network 102 through wireless link 114. In the example of FIG. 1, server 128 couples directly to client workstation 130 and network 104 (which may be a LAN), which incorporates wireless communication links supporting a wireless coupling to laptop computer 126 and wireline protocols supporting a wired coupling to client workstation 112.

[0064] Client devices and servers in such distributed processing systems may be represented by a variety of computing devices, such as mainframes, personal computers, personal digital assistants, web-enabled mobile telephones, and so on. The particular servers and client devices illustrated in FIG. 1 are for explanation, not for limitation. Distributed data processing systems may include additional servers, clients, routers, other devices, and peer-to-peer architectures, not shown in FIG. 1, as will occur to those of skill in the art. Networks in such distributed data processing systems may support many data communications protocols, TCP/IP, HTTP, WAP, HDTP, and others as will occur to those of skill in the art. Various embodiments of the present invention may be implemented on a variety of hardware platforms in addition to those illustrated in FIG. 1. FIG. 1 is intended as an example of a heterogeneous distributed computing environment in which various embodiments of the present invention may be implemented, not as an architectural limitation of the present invention.

[0065]FIG. 2 sets forth a block diagram of automated computing machinery comprising a computer 106, such as a client device or server, useful in systems for personalized indexing of information in distributed data processing systems according to embodiments of the present invention. The computer 106 of FIG. 2 includes at least one computer processor 156 or ‘CPU’ as well as random access memory 168 (“RAM”). Stored in RAM 168 is an application program 152. Application programs useful in implementing inventive methods of the present invention include servlets and CGI scripts running on servers and data communications programs such as browsers or microbrowsers running on client machines. Also stored in RAM 168 is an operating system 154. Operating systems useful in computers according to embodiments of the present invention include Unix, Linux, Microsoft NT™, and many others as will occur to those of skill in the art.

[0066] The computer 106 of FIG. 2 includes computer memory 166 coupled through a system bus 160 to the processor 156 and to other components of the computer. Computer memory 166 may be implemented as a hard disk drive 170, optical disk drive 172, electrically erasable programmable read-only memory space (so-called ‘EEPROM’ or ‘Flash’ memory) 174, RAM drives (not shown), or as any other kind of computer memory as will occur to those of skill in the art.

[0067] The example computer 106 of FIG. 2 includes communications adapter 167 implementing couplings for data communications 184 to other computers 182, servers or clients. Communications adapters implement the hardware level of couplings for data communications through which client computers and servers send data communications directly to one another and through networks. Examples of communications adapters include modems for wired dial-up connections, Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) adapters for wired LAN connections, and 802.11b adapters for wireless LAN connections.

[0068] The example computer of FIG. 2 includes one or more input/output interface adapters 178. Input/output interface adapters in computers implement user-oriented input/output through, for example, software drivers and computer hardware for controlling output to display devices 180 such as computer display screens, as well as user input from user input devices 181 such as keyboards and mice.

[0069] For further explanation, FIG. 3 depicts an exemplary software architecture in which methods, systems, and products may be implemented according to embodiments of the present invention for personalized searching for information in a distributed data processing system. The example of FIG. 3 provides a personal search term list 300 in a search portal 334. A ‘search portal’ 334, as the term is used in this specification, means a data communications server such as a web server that supports a personalized search index 500. The search portal 334 in the example of FIG. 3 includes a search engine 332 operating in dependence upon the personalized search index 500.

[0070] The personal search term list in the example of FIG. 3 comprises search keywords 302 of interest to a user 310. The keywords 302 are identified as being of interest to the user by their inclusion in the personal search term list, and they are known to be of interest because, as explained in more detail below in this specification:

[0071] the user invoked them as contents of a hyperlink in navigating a distributed data processing system,

[0072] or the user selected them from within a document,

[0073] or the user provided them to the search portal as search criteria in a search query message,

[0074] or the user inserted them directly into the user's personal search term list through an edit function provided for that purpose.

[0075] In the example of FIG. 3, a software module for providing 312 a personal search term list 300 operates by inserting into a table in computer memory records comprising a keyword 302 identified by one of the methods just mentioned, along with a user identification 305.

[0076] The exemplary software architecture of FIG. 3 includes a module that receives 316 from a user 310 a navigation identification message 300 comprising a user identification 304 for the search portal and a navigation location 314. More particularly, in the example of FIG. 3, receiving 316 a navigation identification message 300 is carried out by receiving a navigation identification message from a user's data communications application 306, the data communications application, such as a browser or microbrowser, installed and operating on a client computer 308. In the example of FIG. 3, the navigation identification message is communicated from the data communications application to the search portal through a network, typically utilizing a hyperlinking data communications protocol such as HTTP, WAP, HDTP, and the like.

[0077] The data communications application is configured to create and send a navigation identification message to the search portal every time its user operates the data communications application so as to navigate within a distributed data processing system. Navigating within a distributed data processing system means operating data communications applications so as to request and receive documents and other resources from computers comprising the distributed processing system. In the example of the web as a distributed processing system, navigating within the web means requesting web pages and other documents from web servers through a browser or microbrowser operating as a data communications application in a client machine. Prior art data communications applications such as browsers typically do not report users' navigation to search portals and must therefore be configured to do so. Configuring a data communications application to report users' navigation to a search portal is carried out by modifying its programming, either in its source code or through a plug-in, to store in computer memory a user identification for a user for a search portal as well as a network address for the search portal, and to create and transmit a navigation identification message to the search portal every time its user operates the data communications application so as to navigate within a distributed data processing system.

[0078] Such data communications applications may create a navigation identification message, taking browsers and HTML as examples, by use of hyperlinks. In HTML, hyperlinks are implemented with anchor elements that include ‘href’ attributes that identify documents or other resources requested through a hyperlink. Here is an example of an anchor element:

[0079] <a href=“http://www.ibm.com/index.html”>Click Here For Java Portal Report</a>

[0080] The anchor element tags, start tag and end tag, are <a> and </a>. The href attribute is an HTML attribute included within the start tag of the anchor element. The contents of the element is the string “Click Here For Java Portal Report.” A browser renders the hyperlink by displaying on a browser screen the contents of the anchor element, “Click Here For Java Portal Report,” in an inverse color or highlighted so as to distinguish it as a hyperlink. When a user invokes the hyperlink by, for example mouse-clicking the displayed part on the browser screen, the browser, in ordinary operation, opens a data communications connection to the server identified by the domain name in the href attribute, in this example, “www.ibm.com,” and requests the document identified by “index.html.” In browsers configured for use with embodiments of the present invention, the browser also opens a data communications connection, such as a TCP connection, to a search portal and transmits to the search portal the entire URI “http://www.ibm.com/index.html” along with a user identification for a user for the search portal, the two together comprising a navigation identification message, so-called because including the URI has the effect of identifying to the search portal where on the web the user is visiting. The following is an example of a navigation identification message represented as URI encoded data for transmission to a search portal in an HTTP POST or GET message:

[0081] userid=John+Smith&location=http://www.ibm.com/index.html

[0082] The exemplary software architecture of FIG. 3 includes a module that inserts 320 index records 318 in a personalized search index 500 in dependence upon the user identification 304, the navigation location 314, and the personal search term list 300. Inserting 320 index records in a personalized search index creates a personalized search index 500 as illustrated in FIG. 5. The personalized search index 500 of FIG. 5 is ‘personalized’ particularly in that it includes a user identification or ‘userID’ 572 for the search portal.

[0083] In typical indexing engines according to embodiments of the present invention, moreover, inserting 320 index records 318 in a personalized search index 500 includes inserting time stamps on the index records as shown at reference 578 on FIG. 5. As used in this disclosure, the term “time stamp” refers to data encoding both the date and the time when a navigation identification message 300 is received 316. The time stamps 578 in the exemplary personalized search index 500 of FIG. 5 are shown with a precision of 0.1 seconds. That is, the time stamp on record 552, for example, shows that record 552 is derived from a navigation identification message that was received on Mar. 1, 2003 at approximately 32.1 seconds after 7:15 a.m. local time in the time zone in which is located the search portal on which the personalized search index 500 is installed. The precision level of 0.1 seconds is chosen for this example because it provides a resolution typically smaller than human response time in computer operations. That is, it is unlikely that a user will cause a search portal to receive navigation identification messages at intervals of less than 0.1 seconds. The time stamp precision of 0.1 seconds is chosen, however, purely for purposes of explanation, not as a limitation of the invention. Any time stamp precision may be used as will occur to those of skill in the art for the needs of any particular search portal, and all such time stamp precisions are well within the scope of the present invention.

[0084] User identifications or userIDs generally in this specification are described as user identifications ‘for a search portal.’ A user identification for a search portal typically comprises data uniquely identifying a user to a search portal. User identifications are user identifications ‘for a search portal’ because embodiments of the invention advantageously support user access from any client machine. That is, for example, a user of browsers configured to operate according to embodiments of the present invention can install such browsers on a computer at work, a computer at home, and a wirelessly-coupled laptop, each of which implements a different domain name and a different user name for the user. Each such browser, however, stores in its computer memory and uses in its communications with a search portal the same user identification for the search portal, which may be the same as one of the user identification on one of the user's client machines, but may be different from all of them. In this way, the search portal is advised of user navigation for the user regardless from which client machine the navigation originates. The search portal creates a personalized search index pertinent to the user on the basis of all the user's navigation of the web, even when the navigation occurs across a multiplicity of client machines. And the search portal's search engine can provide improved search focus to the user regardless of the client machine from which search requests originate.

[0085] The example personalized search index 500 of FIG. 5 includes keywords 570 indexed with navigation locations, in this example, URIs, identifying the location in cyberspace where the keywords are found. More particularly, the keywords are extracted from documents identified by URIs that match keywords stored in a personal search term list for a user—and then inserted into records in a personalized search index along with a userID and a URI. It is in this sense that a personalized search index 500 is created in dependence upon user identification 304, navigation location 314, and a personal search term list 300.

[0086] The exemplary architecture of FIG. 3 includes a module that receives 324 in the search portal 334 from the user 310 a search query message 328 comprising search criteria 328 and user identification 329 for the search portal. A search query message 328 can be implemented, for example, as an HTTP request message or GET message bearing search criteria 328 as search keywords URI encoded. Here is an example of URI encoding in a search query message for search criteria ‘IBM’ and ‘Java’ with userID of ‘tim’:

[0087] query=IBM+Java&userID=tim

[0088] The example of FIG. 3 includes a software module that creates 322, in dependence upon the personalized search index 500, the search criteria 328, and the user identification 329, a response 330 to the search query message. Creating a response to a search query message typically is carried out by parsing search criteria and user identification from the search query message into a database query. A database query may be expressed in a database query language such as, for example, SQL. The example search query message set forth above, having search criteria ‘IBM’ and ‘Java’ with userID of ‘tim,’ parsed into SQL may be represented as:

[0089] SELECT ALL FROM personalizedIndex

[0090] WHERE keyword IN (‘IBM’,‘Java’)

[0091] AND userID=‘tim’;

[0092] This SQL query retrieves from a personalized search index named ‘personalizedIndex’ records having keywords ‘IBM’ or ‘Java’ and userID of ‘tim.’ If the example index of FIG. 5 is taken as ‘personalizedIndex,’ for example, this example SQL query would select records 558 and 568. Both records 558 and 568 identify the URI “www.ibm.com,” which is then combined with a title and description (not shown) and incorporated into a response 330 to the search query message.

[0093] The example of FIG. 3 includes a software module that transmits 326 the response 330 to the user 310. Transmitting 326 a search response 330 to a user 310 is typically carried out by transmitting a response message in a hyperlinking protocol such as HTTP, WAP, HDTP, and the like. Such a response message typically includes the search results expressed in a markup language, such as, for example, HTML or WML, for display on a browser.

[0094] For further explanation, FIG. 4 depicts an exemplary software architecture in which methods, systems, and products may be implemented according to embodiments of the present invention for personalized searching for information in a distributed data processing system. More particularly, FIG. 4 illustrates an architecture useful for implementing searching according to personalized navigation history. Personalized navigation history is taken in this disclosure as a personalized search index bearing time stamps, thereby indicating the order in which locations (URLs, URIs, and so on) in the index were traversed or navigated by a user. Even more particularly, the architecture of FIG. 4 includes a module that receives 402 in a in a search portal 334 from a user 310 a navigation request message 404 comprising a navigation direction 406. In typical embodiments, supported navigation directions include ‘Back’ and ‘Forward.’

[0095] The architecture of FIG. 4 includes a module that creates 408, in dependence upon a personalized search index 500, the navigation direction 406, and a last navigation time stamp 307, a response 410 to the navigation request message 404. The last navigation time stamp 307 records the time stamp from the last personalized search index record used to create a previous response to a previous navigation request message. An initial value or starting point for the last navigation time stamp 307 may be set by data entry from a user. In the exemplary browser of FIG. 13, for example, invoking the menu item ‘Nav Start Point’ 769 prompts the user to enter a time stamp value which the user then URL encodes and transmits in an HTML message to the search portal for storage in a last navigation time stamp 307 in a user's user account 610, such as, for example:

[0096] userid=JohnSmith&lastNavTimeStamp=3/4/03+1010:10.9

[0097] This example described a modified browser. Alternatively, the search portal may support HTML forms in web pages through which a user may enter an initial value or starting point for a last navigation time stamp directly from an unmodified browser. No doubt other ways of indicating starting points for history navigation will occur to those of skill in the art, and all such ways are well within the scope of the present invention.

[0098] Creating 408 a response to a navigation request message is carried out by retrieving (802), from user account data (610), the last navigation time stamp (307) and retrieving (804) a navigation location (576) from the personalized search index (500) in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp (307) from the user account data and the navigation direction (406). Retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index is carried out by retrieving from the personalized search index a navigation location from the first index record having a time stamp later than the last navigation time stamp if the navigation direction is ‘Forward’. If the navigation direction is ‘Back,’ retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index is carried out by retrieving from the personalized search index a navigation location from the first index record having a time stamp earlier than the last navigation time stamp.

[0099] Creating 408 a response to a navigation request message also includes retrieving (804) the document (806) identified by the navigation location, incorporating the retrieved document into the response, and transmitting (412) the response (410), including the document, to the user. The architecture of FIG. 4 includes a module that updates 416 the last navigation time stamp 307 by storing in it the time stamp from the personalized search index record whose location field value was used to retrieve the document that was incorporated into the response. If the navigation direction was ‘Forward,’ therefore, the new value of the last navigation stamp 307 in the user account 307 is the next later time stamp value from the personalized search index records. If the navigation direction was ‘Back,’ the new value of the last navigation stamp 307 in the user account 307 is set to the next earlier time stamp value from the personalized search index records.

[0100] For further explanation, FIG. 6 sets forth a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method of personalized searching for information in a distributed data processing system that includes providing 312 in a search portal 334 a personal search term list 300. The method of FIG. 6 also includes receiving 316 from a user 310 a navigation identification message 300 comprising a user identification 304 for the search portal and a navigation location 314 and inserting 320 index records 318 in a personalized search index 500 in dependence upon the user identification 304, the navigation location 314, and the personal search term list 300. In typical embodiments, the personalized search index comprises index records comprising time stamps, and inserting index records in the personalized search index 500 includes inserting time stamps encoding an indication of the date and time of the receiving of navigation identification messages.

[0101] The method of FIG. 6 also includes establishing 502 a user account 610 for the user on the search portal, the user account comprising user identification 305 for users of the portal, and a last navigation time stamp 307. A user account 610 is typically implemented as a database table or other data structure retained in computer memory. Recall from the discussion of the architecture of FIG. 4 that responses 410 to navigation request messages 404 are created 408 in dependence upon time stamps in index records 318 in personalized search indexes 500. The last navigation time stamp (307 on FIG. 6) records the time stamp from the last index record 318 in a personalized search index 500 from which was created a response 410 to a navigation request message 404.

[0102] The userID 305 in the user account, as mentioned above, is unique to a user within the search portal. Each user may have multiple user names, logon ids, or other user identifications used in multiple domains, wirelessly coupled laptops, PDAs, mobile phones, home PCs, workstations on LANs at work, and so on. Establishing a single userID for the search portal allows entering that userID into each data communications application in each domain and therefore making all navigation within the web available to the search portal regardless from which domain the navigation originates. User accounts optionally include passwords, retinal scans, digitally-encoded fingerprints, security tokens, or other security data as will occur to those of skill in the art. The user identification advantageously is sufficient to uniquely identify the user, and user identification can be implemented as confidential PIN numbers or other relatively secure formats. Passwords and other security data therefore are said to be optional, depending on the level of security deemed to be needed by an operator of any particular search portal according to embodiments of the present invention.

[0103] The method of FIG. 6 includes authenticating 324 the navigation identification message 300. Some indexing systems according to embodiments of the present invention may operate without authentication. Such systems accept navigation identification messages from any user. Because users can transmit navigation identification messages from any client, however, users may inadvertently transmit navigation identification messages with the wrong user identification. In systems without authentication, such navigation identification messages are accepted for indexing, although the resulting index records may be inserted with the wrong user identification. As an aid to accuracy and order, determining that a navigation identification message is from the user it purports to be from and that it will effect correct indexing, therefore, many indexing systems according to embodiments of the present invention do authenticate 324 navigation identification messages by determining whether user identification 304 in a navigation identification messages exists in a user account record 610. In systems that use additional security data, such as passwords, authentication includes comparing a password (not shown) from a navigation identification message with a password from a user account 610 for the user identified by the userID 304 in the navigation identification message.

[0104] As an aid to clarity in presentation of search results, the method of FIG. 6 includes assigning 504 priority to index records 318 in the personalized search index. In some indexing systems according to embodiments of the present invention, assigning priority comprises counting the number of times a navigation location 315 is received in navigation identification messages 300. Consider the exemplary personalized search index 500 of FIG. 5, whose data structure contains a field for storing a priority value, shown as column 574 on FIG. 5. Indexing systems that assign priority by counting the number of times a navigation location 315 is received in navigation identification messages 300 may do so by incrementing a priority value 574 in every record bearing a particular navigation location (represented as URIs 576 in the example of FIG. 5) every time a navigation identification message 300 is received with that navigation location. In the example of the web, this procedure has the effect of incrementing the priority value of index records for a particular web document, resource, or web site, every time a user visits the web site or requests the document or resource. The more often a user accesses a particular web document, resource, or site, the higher its priority value becomes.

[0105] In other indexing systems according to embodiments of the present invention, assigning priority comprises counting the number of times a keyword from the personal search term list occurs in a document. In other indexing systems according to embodiments of the present invention, assigning priority comprises determining the location of search keywords in a navigated document or web site, assigning higher priority for keywords that occur early in the document or web site. In these methods of assigning priority, the priority value is derived from the characteristics of the documents requested or sites visited rather than the behavior of a user. Other methods of assigning priority will occur to those of skill in the art, and all such methods are well within the scope of the present invention.

[0106] In the method of FIG. 6, the navigation identification message 300 also includes a search keyword 315 and providing a personal search term list further comprises storing 323 the search keyword 315 in the personal search term list 300. Consider again the example of an HTML anchor element effecting a hyperlink to a document described as a ‘Java Portal Report’:

[0107] <a href=“http://www.ibm.com/index.html”>Click Here For Java Portal Report</a>

[0108] In this example, a browser or other data communications application is configured, to transmit a navigation identification message that includes not only the URI and a userID as described above, but also the text string from the body of the element, “Click Here For Java Portal Report.” The fact that a user invokes the hyperlink is taken as an expression of interest in the subject represented by the words in the body of the hyperlink, and the words in the body of the hyperlink therefore are transmitted to a search portal for inclusion in the user's personal search term list. The following is an example of a navigation identification message represented as URI encoded data for transmission to a search portal in an HTTP POST or GET message, including user identification, navigation location, and search keywords from the hyperlink:

[0109] userid=John+Smith&location=http://www.ibm.com/index.html

[0110] &keywords=Click+Here+For+Java+Portal+Report

[0111] In typical embodiments, a personal search term list 300 is implemented as a database table having two columns, one column for userIDs and one for keywords. Storing 323 search keywords 315 in such a personal search term list 300 is carried out by inserting new records bearing the search terms and a userID. In such a personal search term list, assuming an indexing engine that inserts all keywords from navigation identification messages, the navigation identification message above may result in the insertion of six new records in a personal search term list:

UserID Keyword
JohnSmith Click
JohnSmith Here
JohnSmith For
JohnSmith Java
JohnSmith Portal
JohnSmith Report

[0112]FIG. 7 sets forth a flow chart illustrating further methods of providing 312 a personal search term list. One method illustrated in FIG. 7 comprises receiving 606 in a search portal from a user a search query message comprising search criteria 604 and user identification 304 and storing 608 the search criteria in the personal search term list. Here again is an example of URI encoding in a search query message for search criteria ‘IBM’ and ‘Java’ with userID of ‘tim’:

[0113] query=IBM+Java&userID=tim

[0114] In this example, storing 608 the search criteria in the personal search term list inserts these new records in the personal search term list:

UserID Keyword
tim IBM
tim Java

[0115] The illustrated example includes authenticating 612 the search query message. Because this kind of search query message affects the contents of a personal search term list which in turn affects the contents of a personalized search index which in turn affects the search experience of a user, it is an advantage to reduce the risk that any particular search query message will affect the contents of a personal search term list for the wrong user. Many indexing systems according to embodiments of the present invention therefore authenticate search query messages by checking the userID from a search query message against the userID in user account records. In addition to userIDs, some systems use other security data also such as, for example, passwords, Kerberos tokens, digital signatures, biometric data representing retinal scans or fingerprints, and so on as will occur to those of skill in the art.

[0116] A further method for providing a personal search term list, also shown on FIG. 7, includes receiving from the user and adding 614 to the personal search term 300 list a keyword selected by the user 310 from within a document 134. FIG. 13 depicts an exemplary GUI on a client machine running a data communication application, more particularly, in the example of FIG. 13, a browser. The browser of FIG. 13 is an example of a data communications application in a client machine that is capable of providing selected keywords to be received in a search portal and added to a personal search term list for a user. The example browser of FIG. 13 is one that has been programmed, or modified with a plug-in, to accept and transmit keywords selected by a user. The browser of FIG. 13, as depicted, has been operated to point to a web site named “SomeSearchEngine.com,” as shown in the title bar of the browser display 714. The browser of FIG. 13 includes a GUI toolbar 718 with a Back button, a Forward button, and buttons for refreshing the display, searching, printing, and stopping web page retrievals. The browser of FIG. 13 also includes a horizontal menu 716 containing the menu items File, Edit, View, Bookmark (sometimes called ‘Favorites’), SearchOptions, Tools, and Help.

[0117] The menu entry called SearchOptions 726 is programmed to display a menu 702 of search options operable in support of personalized indexing and searching according to embodiments of the present invention. The search options settable through menu 702 include user identification 750, a search portal location 752, a priority type 754, a language preference 756, other preferences 758, and other miscellaneous search options 760. Selecting the menu entry for user identification 750 enables a user to input through a data entry form and store in computer memory with the browser's other operating options and parameters a user identification for a search portal, a user identification that may be the same as or different from the one the user uses in the local domain or on the client machine where the browser is running and may be the same user identification for a search portal used by the particular user from this browser and from other browsers on other client machines. Similarly, selecting the menu entry for portal location 752 enables a user to input through a data entry form and store in computer memory with the browser's other operating options and parameters a network address for a search portal to which navigation identification messages are to be sent. The network address may be implemented as, for example, a domain name for the search portal, a URI for the search portal, a dotted decimal internet protocol address for the search portal, or in other ways as will occur to those of skill in the art.

[0118] The browser of FIG. 13 displays three exemplary entries 722 from a search result message generated in response to the query, “mine geology,” displayed in a query entry field 732. Each entry in the search results includes a title 726 for the document described by the entry, one or two lines of descriptive text 728, and a URI identifying the document described by the entry.

[0119] The browser of FIG. 13 is configured to transmit for receipt in a search portal keywords selected by a user from within a document by use of text selection and GUI controls such as mouse motions and keyboard manipulations. In particular, a right-mouse-button-click anywhere on the display portion 724 of the browser screen presents pull-down menu 762 comprising some of the usual menu items for browser control, Create Shortcut, Add to Favorites, View Source, and so on, but also presenting a new menu item 764 labeled ‘Transmit Selected Text.’ Highlighting text in the display area 724, right-clicking to gain menu 762, and invoking Transmit Selected Text 764 with, for example, a mouse-click, causes the browser to open a TCP connection to a search portal (in this example, the search portal identified through the ‘Portal Location’ item 752 on menu 702, concatenate the selected text into URI encoded data, and transmit the selected text to the search portal in an HTTP message, where the search portal receives and adds keywords from the selected text to a personal search term list for a user.

[0120] For further explanation, consider an example of a user whose userID for the search portal is ‘JohnSmith.’ JohnSmith selects the text in the description line 728 on the browser screen of FIG. 13 with a mouse-click-and-drag, right-clicks on the display area 724, and then selects ‘Transmit Selected Text’ 764 from menu 762. The browser then transmits to the search portal in an HTTP message the following URI encoded data:

[0121] userid=JohnSmith&keywords=geochemistry+geomorphology+and+planetary+sciences

[0122] The search portal receives, the URI encoded keywords, extracts them from the HTTP message, and adds them as entries with the userID to a personal search term list for a user, resulting in the following new entries in JohnSmith's personal search term list:

UserID Keyword
JohnSmith geochemistry
JohnSmith geomorphology
JohnSmith and
JohnSmith planetary
JohnSmith sciences

[0123] Readers of skill in the art will notice that not much search power is added by including ‘and’ in a personal search term list. Many indexing systems according to embodiments of the present invention exclude certain frequently occurring terms both from personal search term lists and from personalized search indexes, such as, for example, ‘the,’ ‘a,’ ‘an,’ and so the like. For clarity of explanation, however, and not as a limitation of the invention, the examples in this disclosure simply include all identified keywords in indexes and in personal search term lists.

[0124] A further method for providing a personal search term list, also shown on FIG. 7, includes making the personal search term list available 300 to the user for editing 614. Making a personal search term list available for editing may be carried out by any means of editing data in tables as will occur to those of skill in the art, including, for example, presenting the contents of a personal search term list through a CGI script or servlet in a <FORM> element in an HTML document for editing directly through the screen of a user's browser, where the user can then directly insert new keywords, delete keywords no long of interest, or edit existing keywords in the user's personal search term list.

[0125] For further explanation, FIG. 8 sets forth a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method of inserting (320 on FIG. 6) index records in a personalized search index that includes retrieving 772 a document from a navigation location and indexing 774, in the personalized search index, a navigation location, keywords from the personal search term list that occur in the retrieved document, and a time stamp indicating when the navigation identification message was received. Indexing 774 a navigation location, keywords, and a time stamp advantageously includes reading 794 from a system clock the date and time when a navigation identification message is received. Indexing 774 a navigation location, keywords, and a time stamp advantageously is carried out when a navigation identification message is received from a user (316 on FIG. 6). In the example of the world wide web as a distributed processing system, a navigation location 314 in a navigation identification message 300 is typically implemented as a URI identifying a web document such as an HTML document, a web page, or a CGI script or servlet that will dynamically assemble and deliver a web page or document. The exemplary method of FIG. 8 then includes retrieving a web document identified by the location URI in a navigation identification message and, to the extent that the web document includes keywords that are also in the personal search term list 300 for the user identified by the userID 304 in the navigation identification message, inserting into a personalized search index 500 new records for each such keywords. The new records have structure, for example, like that shown in FIG. 5, including the keywords 570, the userID 572, the URI where is found the document containing each keyword, and optionally a priority rating 574. If an index record already exists for a particular combination of keyword, userID, and URI, then the method optionally includes taking other action, such as, for example, incrementing a priority value.

[0126]FIG. 8 illustrates a further method for inserting 320 index records 318 in a personalized search index 500. In this example, the navigation identification message 300 contains a search keyword 315 and inserting 320 index records 318 in a personalized search index 500 further comprises indexing 776 the search keyword 315 with the navigation location 314 and a time stamp in the personalized search index. The time stamp records the date and time when the corresponding navigation identification message 300 is received. The time stamp has, for example, the format shown at reference 578 in FIG. 5. In this example, in the method of FIG. 8, indexing the keyword with the navigation location and a time stamp includes reading 777 the date and time for the time stamp from a system clock 779.

[0127] Consider again the example of an HTML anchor element effecting a hyperlink to a document described as a ‘Java Portal Report’:

[0128] <a href=“http://www.ibm.com/index.html”>Click Here For Java Portal Report</a>

[0129] In this example, a browser or other data communications application is configured, to transmit a navigation identification message that includes the URI, a userID, and the text string from the body of the hyperlink: “Click Here For Java Portal Report.” The fact that a user invokes the hyperlink is taken as an expression of interest in the subject represented by the words in the body of the hyperlink, and the words in the body of the hyperlink therefore are transmitted to a search portal for inclusion in the user's personalized search index. The following is an example of a navigation identification message represented as URI encoded data for transmission to a search portal in an HTTP POST or GET message, including user identification, navigation location, and search keywords from the hyperlink:

[0130] userid=John+Smith&location=http://www.ibm.com/index.html

[0131] &keywords=Click+Here+For+Java+Portal+Report

[0132] In typical embodiments, a personalized search index 500 is implemented as a database table having columns such as those illustrated in FIG. 5 for keywords 570, userIDs 572, URIs 576, time stamps 578, and other columns may include priority values, titles of documents, descriptive text, and so on as will occur to those of skill in the art. According to the illustrated method from FIG. 8, therefore, indexing 776 the search keyword 315 with the navigation location 314 and a time stamp in the personalized search index may be carried out, for example, by extracting the keywords from their URI encoding in an HTTP message and adding them in new records, along with userID, URI, time stamp derived from system clock time, and so on, to a personalized search index, one new record for each new keyword.

Personalized Navigation

[0133]FIG. 9 sets forth a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method of operating a history navigation engine 335 advantageously in dependence upon a personalized search index. More particularly, FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary method of searching for information in a distributed data processing system according to personalized navigation history. As mentioned earlier, personalized navigation history is taken in this disclosure as a personalized search index bearing time stamps, thereby indicating the order in which locations (URLs, URIs, and so on) in the index were traversed or navigated by a user.

[0134] The method of FIG. 9 includes receiving 402 in a search portal from a user 310 a navigation request message 404 comprising a navigation direction 406. In the example of the web as a distributed data processing system, a navigation request message is typically implemented as an HTTP request message, such as an HTTP ‘GET’ message. In the example of the web, receiving 402 a navigation request message 404 in a search portal comprises operating the search portal as a web server and receiving an HTTP request message from a user 310 through a browser communicating across the web. Exemplary values of navigation direction 406 are ‘Forward’ and ‘Back.’ ‘Forward’ encodes a request for a document identified by a location 576 (such as a URL or URI) in an index record in a personalized search index 500 having a time stamp value later than the current value of a last navigation time stamp 307 in a corresponding user account record 610. ‘Back’ encodes a request for a document identified by a location 576 (such as a URL or URI) in an index record in a personalized search index 500 having a time stamp value earlier than the current value of a last navigation time stamp 307 in a corresponding user account record 610.

[0135] The browser of FIG. 13, for example, is modified, either in its source code or by way of a plug-in, to support navigation direction against a personalized search index or a subset of a personalized search index in a search portal according to embodiments of the present invention by sending navigation request messages 404 in response to invocations of its Back button 761 and its Forward button 763. Alternatively, a search portal may support navigation controls implemented as hyperlinks, labeled, for example, ‘Back’ and ‘Forward,’ in a web page through which a user may navigate against a personalized search index or a subset of one. No doubt other ways of directing navigation against a personalized search index will occur to those of skill in the art, and all such ways are well within the scope of the present invention.

[0136] In this example, the capability of sending navigation request messages is modal. That is, the mode in which navigation request messages are transmitted in response to operation of the Back and Forward buttons is invoked by selecting the menu item ‘Nav Personal’ 768. Selecting ‘Nav Browser’ 766 returns the browser's Back and Forward buttons to normal operations against the browser's own local memory. When the browser is in the mode for transmitting navigation request messages and its Forward button 763 is invoked, the browser URI encodes navigation direction as ‘Forward’ and transmits it in a navigation request message as, for example:

[0137] userid=JohnSmith&navDir=Forward

[0138] Similarly, when in that mode and the Back button 761 is invoked, the browser URI encodes navigation direction as ‘Back’ and transmits it in a navigation request message as, for example:

[0139] userid=JohnSmith&navDir-Back

[0140] The method of FIG. 9 includes creating 408, in dependence upon the personalized search index 500, the navigation direction 406, and a last navigation time stamp 307, a response 410 to the navigation request message 404. In the example of the web as a distributed data processing system, a response 410 to a navigation request message 404 is typically implemented as an HTTP response message. Creating 408 a response 410 to the navigation request message 404 is carried out in dependence upon the personalized search index 500, the navigation direction 406, and a last navigation time stamp 307 in this sense: If the navigation direction is ‘Forward,’ the method comprises searching through the index records in the personalized search index for the first index record having a time stamp value later than the value of the last navigation time stamp 307 in the corresponding user account 610. ‘Corresponding user account’ in this context is the user account 610 bearing the same userID 305 as the userID 329 in the navigation request message 404. If the navigation direction is ‘Back,’ the method comprises searching through the index records in the personalized search index for the first index record having a time stamp value earlier than the value of the last navigation time stamp 307 in the corresponding user account 610. In the method of FIG. 9, therefore, creating 408 a response includes retrieving 802, from user account data 610, a last navigation time stamp 307.

[0141] In the method of FIG. 9, creating (408) a response includes retrieving (804) a navigation location (576) from the personalized search index (500) in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp (307) from the user account data and the navigation direction (406). Having found an index record according to the navigation direction 406 and the last navigation time stamp 307, the method includes retrieving from that record the location of a document from which the keyword in that record was indexed, retrieving 804 the document itself, and including the document itself in the response message 410. That is, in the method of FIG. 9, creating 408 a response includes retrieving 804 the document 806 identified by the navigation location. In the example of the web, the location of the document is typically a URL or URI, and the document itself typically is an HTML document. In retrieving 804 the document, the search portal effectively switches hats for a moment and operates as a browser, transmitting an HTTP ‘GET’ message across an internet 102 to a web server 128 and waiting for a returning HTTP response message containing the document. The search portal in this example then switches back to web server operation, in effect, and transmits 412 the response to the user 310. That is, the search portal in this example incorporates the document 806 into the response 410 and transmits to the user the entire response including the document.

[0142] The method of FIG. 9 also includes updating 416 the last navigation time stamp 307. Updating 416 the last navigation time stamp is carried out by storing in the last navigation time stamp 307 field in the user account record 610 the value of the time stamp on the index record in the personalized search index 500 from which was retrieved the location 576 of the document 410 returned to the user 310 in the response 410.

[0143] For further explanation, consider an example of the exemplary personalized search index in FIG. 10 and a navigation request message received in a search portal from a user having userID ‘mike,’ where the navigation direction in the navigation request message is ‘Forward,’ and the value of the last navigation time stamp in mike's user account is “3/2/03 2105:16.3.” In this example, the search portal retrieves a document location (taken as a URI) from the first index record having a time stamp later than “3/2/03 2105:16.3.” That is, in this example, the search portal retrieves a URI from record 660. The URI is shown for purposes of explanation merely as a domain name ‘www.new.com.’ As a practical matter, readers of skill in the art will realize that the URI may include a particular filename or pathname as well as an Internet service identification, such as, for example: “http://www.new.com/index.html.” The search portal then retrieves an HTML document identified by the URI, concatenates the document into an HTTP response message, and transmits the HTTP response message to the requesting user, ‘mike.’

[0144] The method of claim 8 wherein the navigation request message 404 further comprises a navigation interval 414 and retrieving 804 a navigation location from the personalized search index further comprises: retrieving a navigation location from the personalized search index in dependence upon the last navigation time stamp from the user account data, the navigation direction, and the navigation interval. The navigation interval 414 may be implemented, for example, as an integer representation of a number of time stamp values to skip in retrieving a search index record from which a document location is to be taken. In the browser of FIG. 13, for example, a navigation interval is set in the browser by invoking menu item ‘Nav Interval’ 770 which prompts the user to enter a navigation interval. The browser then inserts the navigation interval so entered into each navigation request message sent by the browser.

[0145] For further explanation of the use of navigation intervals 414, consider an example of the exemplary personalized search index in FIG. 10 and a navigation request message received in a search portal from a user having userID ‘mike,’ where the navigation direction in the navigation request message is ‘Back,’ the value of the last navigation time stamp in mike's user account is “3/2/03 2105:16.3,” and the value of the navigation interval in the navigation request message is ‘3.’ In this example, the search portal retrieves a URI from the third index record having a time stamp earlier than “3/2/03 2105:16.3.” That is, in this example, the search portal retrieves a URI from record 652. The search portal then retrieves an HTML document identified by the URI (taken in this example as “http://www.ibm.com/index.html.”), concatenates the document into an HTTP response message, and transmits the HTTP response message to the requesting user, ‘mike.’

Subset Playback

[0146]FIG. 11 sets forth a flow chart illustrating a further method of searching for information in a distributed data processing system according to personalized navigation history. The method of FIG. 11 includes creating 930 a subset of the personalized search index and making the subset available to users for remote playback 932. More particularly, in the example of FIG. 11, creating a subset of a personalized search index includes identifying start and end points 906 and establishing a subset identification for the new subset. In typical embodiments, start and end points are time stamp values identifying a range of time stamp values on index records to be extracted from a personalized search index to form a subset. Identifying start and end points may be carried out by prompting a user to enter them or select them from a display.

[0147] The exemplary browser of FIG. 13, for example, supports a pull-down menu 762 comprising an entry labeled ‘New Subset’ 790. The software function invoked by the menu item ‘New Subset’ 790 is added to the browser at the source code level or through a plug-in. The software function invoked by the menu item ‘New Subset’ 790, when invoked with a mouse-click, for example, may prompt a user for a start point for a new subset, and end point for a new subset, and a display name for a new subset, concatenate the start and end points and the display name into URI encoded data, and transmit the URI encoded data to a search portal along with the user's userID to establish a new subset for the user. Such URI encoding of a start and end points for a new subset may be implemented, for example, according to the following example:

[0148] userid=JohnSmith&startPoint=06/1/03+0700:15.1

[0149] &endPoint=3/3/03+0910:07.8&displayName=My+New+Subset

[0150] The URI encoded data may be transmitted to a URI identifying a CGI script or a servlet in a search portal designated for creating new subsets. Alternatively, rather than altering a browser, an HTML form from the search portal itself, logged onto as a web page, may prompt a user to enter start and end points and a display name for a new subset. Other ways of establishing start and end points and display names for subsets will occur to those of skill in the art, and all such ways are well within the scope of the present invention.

[0151] In the example of FIG. 11, creating 930 a subset of a personalized search index includes establishing 908 a subset identification for a new subset. A display name 915, described above, may be taken as a subset identification, and establishing a subset identification does typically include prompting for, or otherwise establishing a display name for a new subset, so as to have some readable text identifying the subset in a way that is meaningful to human beings for use in menu displays and the like. Establishing a subset identification also typically includes, however, creating a record in a subset identification table to represent the new subset, encoding a unique identifier for the new subset, and storing the identifier in the subset identification record as shown, for example, at references 901 and 910 in FIG. 11. More particularly, subset identification table 901 comprises subset identification records, each of which represents a subset of a personalized search index, and each of which comprises, for a particular subset, a userID 909, a subsetID 910, a start point 912, an end point 914, and a display name 915.

[0152] In the example of FIG. 11, creating 930 a subset of a personalized search index includes copying 916 index records from a personalized search index and inserting them into a subset index table 900. The structure of the subset index table 900, in this example, is the same as the structure of the personalized search index from which its contents are copied, that is, the same structure comprising keywords 570, userIDs 572, document locations 576, and time stamps 578 as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 10 and discussed in detail above in this disclosure. The extraction of records from the personalized search index for insertion into a subset index table is characterized as ‘copying’ 916 to denote that the original records, according to typical embodiments of the present invention, are not removed or deleted from the personalized search index, so that operations against the personalized search index may continue normally.

[0153] Copying 916 personalized search index records into a subset index table 900 has the effect of ‘freezing’ them, rendering their overall status static. Records residing in a personalized search index have a dynamic quality in that the values of their time stamps vary. More particularly, it is typical for indexing engines, when inserting index records into a personalized search index in response to navigation identification messages, to find that a record for a user for a location already exists and therefore simply to update the time stamp on the record rather than creating a new index record. In this way, the current time stamp on the record reflects the last time the location identified in the record was visited by the user, but the position of the record in an index or sort according to time stamp changes every time the location identified in the record is visited by the user identified in the record.

[0154] Time stamps in subset index tables 900, according to embodiments of the present invention, typically are not updated as a user navigates through a distributed data processing system. When a subset of records is copied from a personalized search index into a subset index table, therefore, their relations among one another, in terms of a sort on time stamp, are frozen. User navigation no long affects them, so that they can be accessed with ‘Back’ and ‘Forward’ navigation instructions in the same sequence at any time and as often as desired. Again using the web as an example, users wishing to do so, therefore, may identify an interesting or useful series of web sites or web documents accessible to browsers, note the start time, traverse the sites in a desired sequence on a browser that sends navigation identification messages to a search portal according to embodiments of the present invention, and create a subset using the noted start time and end time as start and end points for the subset, and thereby record the series of web sites or web documents in a fixed sequence that can be accessed in that sequence repeatedly at any time in the future by the user or, with the user's permission, depending on the security arrangements of a particular search portal, by other users also.

[0155] In the example of FIG. 11, making 932 a subset available to users for remote playback includes prompting for a subset identification 918. Again the prompt may take the form of an HTML form on a web page from a search portal that supports subsetting. Or the prompt may be had from a browser's menu item like the one labeled ‘Nav subset’ 792 on FIG. 13. Invoking ‘Nav subset’ 792 presents a list (not shown) of display names 915 of subsets previously created by the user, each display name associated with a subsetID 910. When the user selects one of the display names, the method of FIG. 11 continues by setting 920 a current subsetID field 902 in the user account 610 with the value of the associated subsetID 910.

[0156]FIG. 12 sets forth a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method of operating a history navigation engine advantageously independence upon subsets of a personalized search index. The example of FIG. 12 particularly illustrates the effect of setting a non-null value in a current subsetID field 902 in a user account record 610. In the example of FIG. 12, when a navigation request message 404 is received 402 from a user, all as described in detail above in this specification, the method includes determining whether the user account record 610 for the user identified in the navigation request message 329 possesses a null current subsetID 902. If the current subsetID 902 is null, then processing of the navigation request message continues against the personalized search index as shown and described in connection with the method illustrated in FIG. 9.

[0157] If the current subsetID 902 is non-null, however, meaning that the user has selected a subset and caused a subsetID to be set in the current subsetID 902, then processing in the example of FIG. 11 continues with retrieving a last navigation time stamp 307 from the user account 610, and, if the navigation direction 406 is ‘Forward,’ retrieving 804 and transmitting 412 in a response 410 the document 806 identified in the first index record in the subset index table 900 having a time stamp value later than the value of the last navigation time stamp 307. The last navigation time stamp is then updated 416 with the time stamp value from the first index record in the subset index table 900 having a time stamp value later than the value of the last navigation time stamp 307. If the navigation direction 406 is ‘Back,’ processing in this example includes retrieving 804 and transmitting 412 in a response 410 the document 806 identified in the first index record in the subset index table 900 having a time stamp value earlier than the value of the last navigation time stamp 307, and the last navigation time stamp is updated 416 with the time stamp value from the first index record in the subset index table 900 having a time stamp value earlier than the value of the last navigation time stamp 307. In this way, when a user has selected a subset, navigation directions effect navigation among documents identified by index records in the subset index table rather than a personalized search index.

[0158] To return to navigation against a personalized search index rather than against a subset, the user returns to null the value of the current subsetID 902 in the user account 610. The user may null the current subsetID 902 by invoking, for example, a browser menu item such as the one labeled ‘Nav Personal’ 768, which among other things, formulates and transmits to the search portal an HTTP message bearing a URI encoded instruction to null the current subsetID 902 field 902 in the user account 610, such as, for example:

[0159] userid=JohnSmith&currentSubsetID=null

[0160] It will be understood from the foregoing description that modifications and changes may be made in various embodiments of the present invention without departing from its true spirit. The descriptions in this specification are for purposes of illustration only and are not to be construed in a limiting sense. The scope of the present invention is limited only by the language of the following claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification1/1, 707/E17.109, 707/999.003
International ClassificationG06F17/30
Cooperative ClassificationG06Q30/0623, G06F17/30867
European ClassificationG06Q30/0623, G06F17/30W1F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 18, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BEST, STEVEN FRANCIS;BROWN, MICHAEL WAYNE;COOPER, MICHAEL RICHARD;REEL/FRAME:014212/0110;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030616 TO 20030618