CLIENT-BASED OBJECTIFYING OF TEXT panying drawings. In the drawings, like reference numbers
PAGES indicate identical or functionally similar elements.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This application claims priority to Provisional Application Number 60/240,521 filed Oct. 12, 2000, hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes. In addition, this application is being concurrently filed with U.S. Ser. No. 09/797,318 commonly assigned and hereby incorporated by reference for all 10 purposes.
The World Wide Web is an integrated network of sites, each is specialized in a different subject or theme. Despite the differences, most sites can be categorized into groups based upon their content. Some sites specialize in news, some in 15 sports, others in book e-tailing and still others in investment.
Navigation between the various sites is limited to clicking on hyperlinks. Hyperlinks in one site point to pages on another thus allowing the browser to move among the sites. This method of navigation is powerful yet it also limits the 20 user's browsing experience. One online bookseller will not point to another since it does not want to move potential buyers off its site. The offered hyperlinks will be limited only to websites that the site has relations with. The user that browses for a book, however, does want to be able to compare 25 prices on multiple competitive online bookstores.
Hypertext pages viewed over the World Wide Web are free-form text documents. They are not self descriptive in the way that they do not contain the meaning of the displayed text. It is up to the reader of the site to interpret the text into 30 meaningful information. This all works well for a human reader. However, a machine reading this text (data) is lacking the necessary descriptors (meta-data) to understand what is being displayed.
Therefore, it would be advantageous to provide a method 35 of analyzing the unstructured data of hypertext pages, understanding the meta-data behind it and embedding this metadata into the original hypertext page at the client's machine. The meta-data may be stored, hidden from the user's view, so that it is unobtrusive. However, applications that know where 40 to look for this meta-data can easily access and utilize it.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to embedding meta-data into HTML 45 pages at a user computer. In one embodiment, a computerimplemented method for adding meta-data to textual content on a hypertext page is described. A plug-in residing on a web browser at a user computer detects the occurrence of a first hypertext page. The plug-in analyzes the URL of the first 50 hypertext page. Soon thereafter, the plug-in associates a template with the first hypertext page based in part on said URL. If the plug-in cannot locate a template locally, it may contact a well-known server so as to request a template from the server, which is coupled to a repository of templates. 55
The plug-in then scans the content of the first hypertext page for recognized obj ects using the template. In response to locating any recognized objects, the plug-in dynamically embeds meta-data of the recognized object into the first hypertext page. The first hypertext page with the meta-data is 60 then stored on the user computer or displayed to the user.
Reference to the remaining portions of the specification, including the drawings and claims, will realize other features and advantages of the present invention. Further features and advantages of the present invention, as well as the structure 65 and operation of various embodiments of the present invention, are described in detail below with respect to the accom
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a prior art corporate network;
FIG. 2 is one embodiment of a network embodying the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a one embodiment of a network embodying the present invention by providing a plug-in at the client machine;
FIG. 3A is a flow chart of the steps for the embodiment of FIG. 3;
FIG. 4 is a system drawing for providing a plug-in at a client machine;
FIG. 5 is a prior art hypertext page; and
FIG. 6 is a hypertext page having a content menu using the embedded meta-data of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIFIC
The invention provides exemplary systems and methods for embedding meta-data into HTML pages by means of a plug-in associated with a web browser and thereafter displaying the HTML pages on a user computer. The plug-in analyzes the unstructured data of a hypertext page, understands the meaning behind the data, associates meta-data with some of the unstructured data and stores this meta-data back into the original hypertext page. The invention potentially stores meta-data in a location that is hidden from the user's view so that it is unobtrusive but easily retrievable.
There are numerous configurations for implementing the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, the invention is implemented and described using a typical corporate network. Client computers 100 are arranged in intranet subnet 125 along with internal servers 105. The intranet subnet is coupled to Internet 120 through a gateway or bottleneck 110. In the illustrated example, gateway 110 is a proxy. Internet 120 has external servers 115, which is where content may reside.
FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of client based embedding of data for the network shown in FIG. 1. The illustrated example in FIG. 2 extends the client machine so as to have access to extended web content. Client machine 200 has an extension 205 installed thereon, which allows content coming from both internal servers 215 and external servers 225 to be extended. Although the network illustrated in FIG. 2 does not require modification of the network configuration to embed data into a text page, it does require an installation or plug-in on each client to do so. As will be described hereinafter, client machine 200 has embodied thereon an extension to embed data into a text page. In one embodiment, this extension is a web browser having a plug-in that performs the steps of the method described hereinafter.
Embedding Data at a Client Machine
In one embodiment of the present invention, a plug-in, filter, tool bar or event handler is provided at the client machine to embed data into a text page. More particularly, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a plug-in is provided that may embed meta-data into a web page at a client machine. Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 3A, client machine 300 comprises a web browser 305 and a plug-in 310 embodied thereon. Client machine 300 is coupled to a server 315, which in the illustrated embodiment is shown as a TopTier server. Server 315 has a database of templates coupled thereto, which is not illustrated in FIG. 3.