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KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED
This application takes priority from Provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/335,541 filed on Nov. 2, 2001.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION 10
This invention relates to the field of document and information storage and, more particularly, to a method for storing, organizing and accessing knowledge and documents using a computer based indexed system with access control. 15
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Large volumes of paperwork are generated and used on a daily basis. For example, during the course of a typical court 2o case many thousands of documents may be produced. Various businesses produce many documents in the normal course of their activities. The documents may be paper or computer documents, and may be text or images stored as audio, video, text or any combination. Storing, managing, 25 and retrieving information from many disparate sources is a formidable task for many organizations. Problems such as misfiling or overlooking or poorly indexing documents may result in the effective loss of important information. Organizations devote considerable resources attempting to orga- 30 nize information in paper form in a logical way, yet still may be unable to find important documents when necessary.
Even if a database of knowledge is well organized, it may be difficult to access years later. For example, once a lawsuit or other project has concluded, documents and related 35 information are typically stored in a long-term storage facility that may be difficult to access. A poor storage medium inhibits document access in later projects, even though documents are initially well-organized and indexed relative to an earlier time. Consequently, the knowledge may 40 effectively be lost or may even have to be recreated at additional cost.
Many current records management systems, particularly those that manage documents in paper form, may be expensive and have narrow capabilities, particularly if they are 45 organized using a restrictive storage system and/or indexing method.
In addition to records management and organizational problems, document authentication requirements may present additional difficulties. A considerable amount of 50 time and money can be spent supporting a document validation system.
Some Knowledge or Document Management Systems are directed exclusively toward internal and restricted document management. Document management software allows users 55 or user groups to check-in and check-out documents while tracking changes. This system provides an internal document processing and control system for a single enterprise that may not be amenable to multiple use and access. Some of these systems offer an Intranet solution for internal 60 company document management. This is often an extension of a network client/server based computing system as customers start using 'Intranets' as the medium to share and use their resources. Since these companies require secure authentication by a user, the system cannot be used by those 65 external to the system and thus document collaboration is only accomplished in a highly restricted environment.
Known systems presently in use for document management provide narrowly tailored applications for specific tasks, but lack flexibility and capability to provide a fully integrated solution for all documents to enable an organization or project to use and reuse documents. Thus, there is a need for a robust document management system with flexibilities and capabilities for multiple types of indexing, shared document accessing, access and security controls, access and use auditing/tracking, document verification, archiving and electronic filing.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The method and system of the present invention provides for a knowledge management system (KMS) on a network. A document to be archived is prepared as a machine readable document for uploading to the database. A document is a collection of data, knowledge or information which may be on any media that is machine readable or capable of being converted to machine readable information and loaded to a database. The document can be text, image, video or audio, any of which may be converted to another format, all of which are indexed during and after uploading, and stored by the Knowledge Management System (KMS) to the database.
A multilevel indexing component is provided to enable data organization and retrieval. Multiple levels of indexing occur automatically as documents are uploaded to a database. Users can determine indexes or predetermine indexes to apply to documents for uploading. A user uploading a document assigns desired attributes (or index fields) that become associated with the document and may be used to search for the document and its contents subsequently, and to determine statistics and attributes of the documents and data within the documents. Screen capture or document area highlighting, using a browser, can be used to designate and populate index fields. Various indexing tasks are done automatically during upload (and later when documents/files are accessed), other indexing tasks are undertaken by users both during upload and later access and use.
The indexes update dynamically in the database and can be used to dynamically generate data population statistics derived from the database, herein termed 'aggregated functions.' A manual or automatic history or trend analysis is generated as documents are uploaded to the database application. In this way, the indexes become tools for generating trend analysis data. The content indexing capability can be enabled for any document as well as for documents to which Optical Character Recognition or another data reformatting facility has been applied.
Sophisticated searching and compilation is provided by relating multiple indexes across a database. A multi-level search can be undertaken by a range search over a first index and used to produce a search result including data and documents of other index values that are related to the first index. This includes an indexing utility where information is automatically indexed and that results in a virtual ongoing search.
A security structure is integrated with the database for access control and monitoring. The security structure is provided for user authentication and user access to documents and database information. This structure is coupled to document verification, authentication and access controls. Access controls may be partial or total and may be based on user and document attribute profiles. Access controls may be applied with any level of indexing, including document content. Security arrangements for documents can allow for indexed parameters to launch a specific browser that has
redaction enabled to allow only specific information to be viewed. All users interaction can be logged and archived. All database and document changes are tracked and archived with the capability of undoing any changes.
Database search facilities are based on a parent-to-child 5 relation or multi-level indexes created during and after documents have been uploaded. Search restrictions are based on the security structure and are used to restrict user access to documents, portions of documents, indexes or portions of indexes. Portions of documents may be auto- 10 matically redacted or highlighted by software 'blackout' overlays or equivalent processes based on the access privileges of the user.
The present invention provides for a to-do list is a list of actions for which the user may apply to a document or 15 document index to be archived. Herein, this facility is termed a 'workflow.' These workflow instructions are for archiving and/or data and document use in project. A list of action items associated with data are generated and shared over the system. In association with the workflow facility, an 20 'autoinform' facility can be included to automatically inform other users when documents arrive, are completed, are available for use, or are being used.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS 25
The present invention and its advantages will be better understood by referring to the following detailed description and the attached drawings in which:
FIG. 1A illustrates an implementation of a preferred 30 embodiment of the present invention in a network environment;
FIG. IB illustrates multilevel indexing;
FIG. 2 illustrates the components of an application program of the present invention; 35
FIG. 3 illustrates an example of system architecture for the present invention;
FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a data architecture for the present invention; and
FIG. 5 illustrates an example of an element within a data 40 architecture for the present invention.
While the invention will be described in connection with preferred embodiments, it will be understood that the invention is not limited thereto. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents which 45 may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined by the appended claims.
The present invention provides a Knowledge Management System method and apparatus that enables increased flexibility for knowledge and document management and archiving, and for organization of information in and related 55 to databases. The present invention provides for project management and document management and information access and control across the Internet or an intranet with online project and document security controls, variable levels of indexing, remote secure document archiving, appli- 60 cation tracking and auditing. Other features and advantages of the invention will be readily apparent to persons skilled in the art based on the following detailed description. To the extent that the following detailed description is specific to particular embodiments or particular uses of the invention, 65 these embodiments intended to be illustrative and are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention.
FIG. 1A illustrates a Knowledge Management System (KMS) 5 that is integrated with a computer network system. The KMS 5 includes a web browser document interface (WBDI) 10 coupled to a plurality of users 12 and remote storage 18 over a network 14. The web browser document interface 10 includes components for performing remote or local document management, security, archiving, document collaboration among multiple users, system auditing and audited document access, digital document verification, variable levels and types of document indexing including document content indexing and processing (such as optical character recognition, OCR), and external document storage 18 for connected users 12. Users 12 also have access to output devices 16 for publication, document transmission or storage outside the KMS environment. These components are described in more detail below with respect to FIG. 2.
The term 'index' used herein refers to multiple levels of information related to a document or set of documents. An index is more than simply a pointer (as the pointer on a scale) that serves to indicate a data value or quantity. An index is both a pointer and a linking device, and the index can represent or contain a dataset of all the values pointed to. For example, consider a set of documents (which may be electronic records) containing the personal information for a group of people in a company. One index can point to the all the names of the employees. The 'names of employees' index then is a dataset of all the names and points (links) to all the documents where these names can be found. Because the names are linked to the personal information documents, the 'names of employees' index is also linked to any other indexes (e.g., age, address, income) that are associated with the personal information documents. These other indexes may be pointers or pointers and data values. At another level, this same 'names of employees' index may be divided into salaried employees and hourly employees, and so two other indexes are created that are subsets of the 'names of employees' index.
FIG. IB illustrates an example of the multi-type indexing that may accompany an uploaded document 200. Document indexing types include a field-index 202 that contains user input index information associated with a document. Fieldindex types and values may be chosen or assigned by a user uploading the document to the KMS. Another type of index is a native-index 204 that contains information naturally associated with a document such as file format, creation date, modification data, identities of users who have accessed or edited document content or indexes. Still another index is the content-index 206, that is an index of the characteristics of the document contents, for example the text a document contains.
FIG. 2 illustrates examples of the system or software components the KMS shown in FIG. 1A can have. The application program 26 for the web browser document interface 10 includes a system administrator 22, a data loading component 24 and program management tools 100, all of which are coupled to an application program 26 resident on a computer, computer server, an application service provider (ASP) server or network server. The system administrator 22 includes a user profile component 60, a project setup component 62, a database maintenance component 64, a tracking/auditing component 68, and security and permissions component 70.
The application program 26 further includes a multilevel indexing component 80, a document processing component 88, a document audit component 90, a document security component 92, a company registration component 94, license verification 96, an integrated system security struc