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1. (WO2007009168) METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PROVIDING STRUCTURED DATA FOR FREE TEXT MESSAGES
Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

CLAIMS
What is claimed is:

1. A method for providing structured data from a free-text message for sending to one or more recipients, the method comprising:

(a) accepting input indicative of a text fragment of the message;

(b) analyzing the accepted input to ascertain whether one or more
predefined text conditions are met;'

(c) in the case it is ascertained that one or more of the predefined
conditions are met, providing to a user output indicative of proposed
structured data corresponding to the accepted input;

(d) accepting from the user additional input indicative of selective
modification and/or approval of the proposed structured data; and

(e) repeating steps (a) to (d) until all data indicative of all text fragments included in the message are accepted and analyzed,

such that in the case all data indicative of all text fragments included in the message are accepted, analyzed, and the structured data thereof modified and approved, one or both of the approved structured data and the message are sendable to one or more recipients.

2. A method as recited in claim 1 , further comprising:

(f) in the case all data indicative of all text fragments included in the
message are accepted, analyzed, and the structured data thereof modified
and approved, sending one or both of the approved structured data and the message to one or more recipients.

3. A method as recited in claim 2, wherein the sending in (f) is in response to an explicit command to send being provided by the user.

4. A method as recited in claim 2, wherein the sending in (f) is in response to an explicit command that all text and structured data is approved.

5. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the message is created by the user.

6. A method as recited in claim 1 , wherein the message is created by another user different from the user.

7. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the text fragment is provided as free text.

8. A method as recited in claim 7, wherein the analyzing of (b) includes one or both of analyzing the accepted input corresponding to the text fragment, and analyzing the relationship of the text fragment to one or more previously accepted inputs corresponding to text fragments.

9. A method as recited in claim 7, wherein the analyzing of (b) includes one or both of analyzing the accepted input corresponding to the text fragment, and analyzing the approved structured data corresponding to one or more previously accepted inputs corresponding to text fragments.

10. A method as recited in claim 7, wherein the free text is provided during authoring of an electronic message.

11. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein one or more predefined text conditions is associated with one or more structured data types, and the proposed structured data includes one or more of the structured data types associated with the met text conditions.

12. A method as recited in claim 11, including the step of providing a framework for the association of text conditions to structured data types.

13. A method as recited in claim 11, wherein the method is implemented in an environment and the association of text conditions to structured data types is environment specific.

14. A method as recited in claim 11 including the step of identifying one or more structured data types associated with the met text conditions.

15. A method as recited in claim 14, including the step of analyzing the one or more identified structured data types for identifying a preferred selection of structured data types.

16. A method as recited in claim 15, wherein the preferred selection of structured data types includes one or more or all of the identified structured data types.

17. A method as recited in claim 15, wherein analyzing the one or more identified structured data types includes applying a mapping protocol.

18. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the mapping protocol includes a confidence level assessment.

19. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the mapping protocol includes assessment of previously approved structured data.

20. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the mapping protocol includes analysis of one or more attributes associated with the user.

21. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the mapping protocol includes analysis of one or more attributes associated with one or more of the recipients.

22. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the mapping protocol includes analysis of one or more relationship attributes relating to the user and one or more of the recipients.

23. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the mapping protocol includes analysis of one or more attributes associated with a related message.

24. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the mapping protocol includes consideration of a message template that has been selected by the user.

25. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the mapping protocol includes analysis one or more attributes associated with one or more data types.

26. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the mapping protocol includes application of data derived by a learning algorithm.

27. A method as recited in claim 11, wherein each data type is indicative of one or more detail fields.

28. A method as recited in claim 27, wherein the output indicative of proposed structured data provides one or more of the detail fields of which the structured data types included in the proposed structured data are indicative.

29. A method as recited in claim 28, wherein the providing of the additional input indicative of selective modification and/or approval of the proposed structured data includes editing and or approving information in the provided detail fields.

30. A method as recited in claim 29, wherein sending is permitted only in the case that each of the provided detail fields is populated.

31. A method as recited in claim 28, wherein one or more of the provided detail fields are automatically populated based on the analysis of the text.

32. A method as recited in claim 27, wherein for each data type the detail fields relate to aspects of that data type.

33. A method as recited in claim 32, wherein the detail fields include one or more detail fields that relate to deadlines or other dates.

34. A method as recited in claim 32, wherein the detail fields include one or more detail fields that relate to classifications.

35. A method as recited in claim 32, wherein the detail fields include one or more detail fields that relate to resource allocations.

36. A method as recited in claim 32, wherein the detail fields include one or more detail fields that relate to priority rankings.

37. A method as recited in claim 32, wherein the detail fields include one or more detail fields that relate to responsibility allocations.

38. A method as recited in claim 32, wherein the detail fields include one or more detail fields that relate to task acceptances or rejections.

39. A method as recited in claim 29, wherein either or both of the detail fields and the data type are provided in a graphical user interface as modifiable components.

40. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the step of providing a signal indicative of proposed structured data is performed upon one or more predetermined conditions being met.

41. A method as recited in claim 40, wherein the one or more predetermined conditions include one or more of: a user input;

input indicative of completion of receipt from the user input indicative of text; and

input indicative of completion of receipt from the user input indicative of a discrete fragment of text.

42. A method as recited in claim 41, wherein input indicative of a discrete segment of text includes input indicative of a paragraph of text.

43. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the text is displayed to the user by way of a graphical user interface in a free-text message field and the signal indicative of proposed structured data is provided in, on and or adjacent the free-text message field.

44. A method as recited in claim 43, wherein the signal includes a tree diagram indicative of the proposed structured text.

45. A method as recited in claim 44, wherein the tree diagram is provided in a structured text preview field alongside the free-text message field.

46. A method as recited in claim 43, wherein the signal includes one or more modifiable items periodically superimposed on the free-text message field.

47. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein a signal indicative of the approved structured data is provided to an information management system. '

48. A method as recited in claim 47, wherein the information management system is an activity management system.

49. A method as recited in claim 47, wherein the information management system is responsive to the signal indicative of the approved structured data for updating one or more records in a database.

50. A method as recited in claim 47, wherein the information management system is responsive to the signal indicative of the approved structured data for providing a signal indicative of a follow-up action.

51. A method as recited in claim 47, wherein the signal indicative of the approved structured data is provided to the information management system in response to one or more predetermined conditions being met.

52. A method as recited in claim 51, wherein the one or more predetermined conditions include a user command to provide an electronic message including the text.

53. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the one or more predetermined text conditions include the presence of one or more predetermined key words.

54. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the one or more predetermined text conditions include the presence of one or more predetermined grammatical structures.

55. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the one or more predetermined text conditions include the presence of one or more predetermined text structures.

56. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the one or more predetermined text conditions include the presence of one or more predetermined identifiers.

57. A method as recited in claim 55, wherein the one or more predetermined text structures includes text structured to identify a date or other point in time.

58. A method as recited in claim 56, wherein the one or more predetermined identifiers are indicative of one or more resources, items, projects, persons or locations.

59. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the message consists of a single text fragment.

60. A method as recited in claim 1, wherein the output provided in (c) includes one or more modifiable components presented in a graphical user interface.

61. A computer-readable carrier medium carrying a set of instructions that when executed by one or more processors cause the one or more processors to carry out a method for providing structured data from a message authored by a user for sending to one or more recipients, the method comprising:

(a) accepting input indicative of a text fragment authored by the user;

(b) analyzing the accepted input to ascertain whether one or more
predefined text conditions are met;

(c) in the case it is ascertained that one or more of the predefined
conditions are met providing to the user output indicative of proposed
structured data corresponding to the accepted input;

(d) accepting from the user additional input indicative of selective
modification and/or approval of the proposed structured data;

(e) repeating steps (a) to (d) until all data indicative of all text fragments included in the message are accepted and analyzed,

such that, in the case that all data indicative of all text fragments included in the message are accepted, analyzed, and the structured data thereof modified and approved, one or both of the approved structured data and the message are sendable to one or more recipients.

62. A carrier medium as recited in claim 61, wherein the method further comprises:

(f) in the case that all data indicative of all text fragments included in
the message are accepted, analyzed, and the structured data thereof
modified and approved, sending one or both of the approved structured data and the message to one or more recipients.

63. A carrier medium as recited in claim 61, wherein the carrier medium is a medium bearing a propagated signal detectable by at least one processor of the one or more processors and representing the set of instructions.

64. A carrier medium as recited in claim 61, wherein the carrier medium is a carrier wave bearing a propagated signal detectable by at least one processor of the one or more processors and representing the set of instructions.

65. A carrier medium as recited in claim 61, wherein the carrier medium is a transmission medium in a network bearing a propagated signal detectable by at least one processor of the one or more processors and representing the set of instructions.

66. A computer program or computer program product comprising a set of instructions for carrying out a method as recited in any preceding method claim.

67. An apparatus for providing structured data from a free-text message for sending to one or more recipients, the apparatus comprising:

(a) means for accepting input indicative of a text fragment of the
message;

(b) means for analyzing the accepted input to ascertain whether one or more predefined text conditions are met;

(c) means for in the case it is ascertained that one or more of the
predefined conditions are met, providing to a user output indicative of
proposed structured data corresponding to the accepted input;

(d) means for accepting from the user additional input indicative of
selective modification and/or approval of the proposed structured data; and

(e) means for repeating steps (a) to (d) until all data indicative of all text fragments included in the message are accepted and analyzed,

such that in the case that all data indicative of all text fragments included in the message are accepted, analyzed, and the structured data thereof modified and approved, one or both of the approved structured .data and the message are sendable to one or more recipients.