CCE Theses and Dissertations

Method and Apparatus for Enhanced E-Mail Filtering and Routing Employing Directory-Based Information and Policies

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Sumitra Mukherjee

Committee Member

Junping Sun


E-mail has proven to be an important tool, but the sheer volume of e-mail messages and the emergence of unsolicited e-mail hamper e-mail use. Routing important or urgent e-mail quickly and efficiently can be difficult because common filtering decisions used to separate wanted e-mail from unwanted are based only on information contained in the e-mail, such as the To, From, Subject, and Body portions of the message.

This investigation resulted in the design and development of a model, method, and apparatus to apply directory-held information and policies to e-mail filtering and routing decisions. The policies are expressed in Extensible Markup Language (XML) statements and expand filtering and routing decision sources to include information contained in the directory as well as information contained in the e-mail. The prototype apparatus developed, the Message Filtering and Routing Agent (MeFRA), does not replace existing filtering mechanisms but adds an additional means for handling messages. MeFRA policies are stored in a network directory in XML fragments that are assembled by the MeFRA system into a valid XML document. This XML document is then processed using standard XML Document Object Model mechanisms and executed by MeFRA. MeFRA uses the Microsoft Active Directory as the repository for directory information and MeFRA policies. MeFRA operates as an agent program working in conjunction with the Microsoft Outlook 2003 e-mail program and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 e-mail system. MeFRAiswritteninMicrosoftVisualBasic.NET.

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