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Publication numberWO2003054767 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberPCT/SE2002/002247
Publication date3 Jul 2003
Filing date5 Dec 2002
Priority date6 Dec 2001
Publication numberPCT/2002/2247, PCT/SE/2/002247, PCT/SE/2/02247, PCT/SE/2002/002247, PCT/SE/2002/02247, PCT/SE2/002247, PCT/SE2/02247, PCT/SE2002/002247, PCT/SE2002/02247, PCT/SE2002002247, PCT/SE200202247, PCT/SE2002247, PCT/SE202247, WO 03054767 A1, WO 03054767A1, WO 2003/054767 A1, WO 2003054767 A1, WO 2003054767A1, WO-A1-03054767, WO-A1-2003054767, WO03054767 A1, WO03054767A1, WO2003/054767A1, WO2003054767 A1, WO2003054767A1
InventorsGöte LAGERKVIST
ApplicantLagerkvist Goete
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet
Document management
WO 2003054767 A1
Abstract
The present invention relates to a method of electronic document management in which an issuer of a form (A) stored in a first computer unit (1) makes the form available to a user (C) of a second computer unit (2) via a network. The form (A) is designed to enable the user to provide to the issuer with user information (B) via the second computer (2) by entering sub-information (B1, B2, B3) requested in the form in fields (F1, F2, F3) predefined by the issuer in the form. The first computer unit (1) includes or co-acts with at least one first and one second memory space (11, 12). The form (A) can be stored in and retrieved from the first memory space (11) together with a form identity (Ai) and the user information (B) is stored in the second memory space (12) together with, or coupled to, an information identity (Bi) which includes the user identity (Ci) and the form identity (Ai) associated with the user (C).
Claims  (OCR text may contain errors)
1. An electronic document management method in which an issuer of a form stored in a first computer unit makes the form available to a user of a second computer unit via a network, wherein said form is adapted to enable the user to provide the issuer with user information by entering, via said second computer unit, sub-information requested in the form by the issuer in predefined fields in said form, wherewith the thus completed form constitutes said document, character- rised by causing said first computer unit to include or to co-act with at least one first and one second memory space; by storing the form in and enabling said form to be fetched from said first memory space together with the identity of said form; storing said user information in said second memory space together with or connected to an information identity, wherein said information identity includes the user identity of said user, a unique document identity affiliated with said user information, and said form identity.
2. A method according to Claim 1 , characterised in that said document can be recreated by combining said user information and said form; and in that said combination is effected by matching the information identity and the form identity.
3. A method according to Claim 2, characterised by storing said form and said entered sub-information intermediately in a memory space belonging to said second computer unit, therewith affording the user access to the form without being connected to the first computer unit.
4. A method according to Claim 2 or 3, characterised in that said document management is carried out in a first application; and in that said form is adapted to a user application totally separate from said first application.
5. A method according to Claim 4, characterised in that the form is made available in a number of different formats each adapted to different user applications, wherein the form gives the same information and asks for the same information regardless of the user application by means of which the user is given access to the form.
6. A method according to Claim 5, characterised in that said format can be adapted to widely different user applications, such as a first format in which the form is intended to be shown and completed by a word processing user application, such as MS Word®, a second format with which the form shall be shown and completed by an information publication user application, such as Acrobat Reader®, and a third format with which the form shall be shown and completed by means of an http user application, such as Internet Explorer® or Netscape®.
7. A method according to any one of the preceding Claims, characterised in that different versions of said form are saved in said first memory space; in that the form identity includes two parts, a first part which clearly identifies the form and a second part which clearly identifies the version of said form; and in that said information identity thus includes both the first and the second parts of the form identity.
8. A method according to Claim 7, characterised by enabling sub-information to be stored in said second memory space substantially in two ways, by means of a "save document" function, meaning that sub-information entered into the second computer unit is stored in the second memory space while allowing further sub- information to be entered or earlier entered sub-information to be changed, or by a "file document" function, meaning that sub-information entered into the second computer unit is stored together with sub-information earlier stored in said second memory space, wherein said user is no longer permitted to revise stored sub- information or earlier entered sub-information subsequent to performing said "file document" function.
9. A method according to Claim 8, characterised in that the "file document" function includes a time notation stating the time at which the "file document" function was activated, this time notation being included in said information identity.
10. A method according to Claim 8 or 9, characterised in that said "file document" function includes a time limiting function that is adapted to activate said "file document" function automatically at a specified time point.
11. A method according to Claim 8, 9 or 10, characterised in that said "save document" function is activated automatically without the user being aware of its activation, such as in conjunction with a page change or when switching to another information entry field in the form.
12. A method according to Claim 11 , characterised in that the "save document" function can be activated manually by the user.
13. A method according to Claim 11 or 12, characterised in that when a first user terminates the entry of information without activating the "file document" function, the form can be made available to the first user for the entry of further information or for the correction of earlier entered sub-information.
14. A method according to Claim 13, characterised in that said form can be made available to a second user for additional entry of information or for the correction of earlier entered sub-information.
15. A method according to Claim 14, characterised in that said predefined fields can be combined into different groups; in that the entry of information in a field belonging to a first group can require a first level of authority; in that the entry of information in fields belonging to a second group can require a second level of authority; and in that the first user and the second user can be given different levels of authority in conjunction with entering sub-information into said form.
16. A method according to Claim 14 or 15, characterised in that the availability of said "file document" function may be restricted to a given level of authority.
17. A method according to any one of the preceding Claims, characterised in that availability of said form may be chosen in accordance with necessary security requirements of the document concerned.
18. A method according to Claim 17, characterised in that said security can be chosen form a plurality of available security levels, such as a first selective security level which allows the form to be made available to any user whatsoever, wherein the user identity may consist of a true identity of the user or an optionally given identity, a second selective security level which enables the form to be made available to selective users who can be identified through the medium of a secret shared with the issuer, wherein said user identity is established by said identification, and a third selective security level which enables the form to be made available to chosen users who can be identified by asymmetric keys and possibly an independent certifying authority, wherein the user identity is established by said identification.
19. A method according to Claim 18, characterised in that one and the same form may be made available to users that have different levels of authority pursuant to different security levels.
20. A method according to any one of the preceding Claims, characterised in that the form can be identified clearly and coupled to the issuer by the user.
21. A method according to any one of the preceding Claims, characterised in that the form is allotted a validity time, which includes a start time and/or an expiry time.
22. A method according to Claim 20, characterised in that the form is made available to selective users prior to said start time, for evaluation of the form.
23. A method according to Claim 21 or 22, characterised in that a form is allocated an opening time; and in that said user information is made available to the issuer at said opening time at the earliest.
24. A method according to any one of the preceding Claims, characterised in that said form is divided into different fragments or parts; in that respective fragments are adapted to different applications; and in that said user can choose actively which fragment shall be shown.
25. A method according to any one of the preceding Claims, characterised in that said first computer unit includes, or co-acts with, a third memory space; in that personal user information is stored in said third memory space; in that said personal information includes said user identity; and in that when said first computer unit identifies the user in conjunction with said user filling-in, or completing, an other form, said personal information is fetched from said first memory space and entered automatically in said other form.
26. A method according to any one of the preceding Claims, characterised in that said form is designed so that said document will fulfil the requirements of an original document.
27. A computer program product, characterised in that the computer program product includes a computer program code which when executed by a computer unit causes said computer unit to function as a first computer unit in accordance with any one of the preceding Claims.
28. A computer readable medium, characterised in that said computer readable medium has stored therein a computer program code which when executed by a computer unit causes said computer unit to function as a first computer unit in accordance with any one of Claims 1 to 26 inclusive.
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT

Field of invention

The present invention relates to a method of managing electronic documents, wherein the issuer of a form or like document stored in a first computer unit makes the form available to a user of a second computer unit, via a network. The form is user-adapted to enable user information to be delivered to the issuer of the form, by entering information requested in the form by the issuer in predefined fields, such as boxes or blank spaces, in the form, through the medium of the second computer unit. A thus completed form constitutes the electronic document.

The present invention also relates to a computer program product and to a computer readable medium having a computer program code whereby an inventive method can be implemented.

Description of the background art

It is known to establish documents that shall fulfil the requirements of documentary records, deeds and so on that contain information which one or more parties has/have included in the document. The document is signed in a manner, which enables said party/parties to be identified and is then stored so that it cannot be altered after having been prepared. The document also establishes the time at which the document was signed, and also the identity of the document, such as with a registration number or daybook number.

An original document traditionally consists of a physical paper document. The document may also exist in an electronic form. A document of this nature can be signed with an electronic signature which shows clearly who has signed the document, and is time-stamped to establish the time at which the signature was made. The signature also enables a subsequent check to be made, in order to ascertain whether or not the document has been altered in some way or another subsequent to having been signed. Various techniques can be used to achieve the requisite security level with respect to an electronic document. For example, it is known to use secrets that are shared between parties and that concern the document in question, such as user names and passwords, symmetrical keys, etc. Asymmetric keys with or without independent key checking may also be used. When an electronic document is signed, the complete document is included by the signature, and the complete document is stored for later access.

It shall also be mentioned that it is known that an electronic document can be handled by applications that permit a plurality of users to fill-in a document before it is finally signed. For example, there exist accounting (bookkeeping) programs in which a first user commences an infeed of information into a document, while a second user terminates the infeed of information into the document at a later stage independently of the first user. Different users may also be given authoritative or competence statuses with regard to the infeed of information into the document. For example, a user may be authorised to feed information into a document, while another user is authorised to sign the document. This can take place when the document is made available through a network and when the various users have access to the application concerned.

When creating an original document or a document, there is often used a form or the like into which a user enters information. A completed form then constitutes the final document or the original document. Although the word "form" is used in the following description, it will be understood that by the word form is meant solely a template, a prototype, or a specimen of the final document, and that the document is comprised of the form in combination with user information entered thereon.

Summary of the present invention

Technical problems

When considering the known prior art as described above, it will be seen that a technical problem resides in reducing the storage space required to store and recreate an electronic original document in a secure fashion.

A technical problem also resides in enabling different versions of a form that is the basis for a document to be readily handled, such that a user will always have access to a relevant version of the form, i.e. to the latest version of the form for a new user and a correct version of the form for a user who has, perhaps, commenced entering of information in an older version of the form.

Another technical problem resides in the ability to manage electronic documents over a network, in which management takes place in a specially adapted application but in which the document, or a form on which the document is based, shall be accessible to users who do not have access to this application.

Another technical problem resides in affording a user the possibility of interrupting the infeed of information at any time whatsoever, so that the same user or some other user can continue the infeed of information on a later occasion.

A technical problem also resides in allowing a user to continue to enter information when the process of entering of information has been interrupted unintentionally, such as in conjunction with a breakdown in communication via the network, without the information earlier fed entered being lost as a result of the unintentional interruption.

Solution

With the intention of simplifying the management of electronic documents and with the intention of reducing the storage (memory) space required to handle electronic documents or electronic original documents, it is proposed in accordance with the invention that the form and the information entered thereon are each stored perse. This means that the form will only take up storage space once, while the user information will occupy space required by each user.

The form shall be given its own identity and the user information can be stored together with, or coupled to, an information identity that includes a user identity, the identity of the document carrying said user information, and the form identity.

The document can thus be recreated by combining the user information and relevant form. This combination is effected by matching the information identity and the form identity, and results in a document that has a specific document identity.

With the intention of enabling a user who does not have access to said application in which the form or the document is handled, said application being here referred to as a first application, to be given access to the document or the form, it is proposed in accordance with the present invention that the form is adapted to a user application which is totally separate from the first application.

It is also proposed that the form is available in several different formats, each being adapted to different user applications, where the forms of different formats give the same information and request the same information, regardless of the user application through which the user is given access to the form.

Examples of different relevant formats are formats that are adapted to a word processing user application, such as MS Word®, a user application for the publication of information, such as Acrobat Reader®, and a user application for http, such as Internet Explorer® or Netscape®.

With the intention of providing simple management of different form versions, it is proposed in accordance with the invention that different versions of the form are saved, and that the form identity is comprised of two parts, a first part that clearly identifies the form and a second part that clearly identifies the version of the form involved.

According to the present invention, sub-information shall be stored chiefly in two ways, i.e. through a "save document" function, signifying that entered sub- information is stored but that further sub-information can be entered or earlier entered sub-information can be corrected, or by a "file document" function signifying that sub-information is stored together with earlier stored sub- information and that, subsequent to activation, the user is no longer permitted to correct stored sub-information or to enter additional sub-information. The "file document" function may also include a time notation of when the "file document" function was initiated. The requirement of an original document also including a time notation can also be satisfied in this way.

According to one proposed embodiment of the invention, the "save document" function can be activated automatically without the user being conscious of such activation, such as when making a page change in the form or when switching to another blank space or box into which information shall be entered. This enables entering of information to be restarted after an unintentional interruption in the information entering process, without losing information that has already been entered on the form in conjunction with said unintentional interruption. The user can also activate the "save document" function manually.

With the intention of enabling different users to manage the form or the document pursuant to different levels of authority, it is proposed in accordance with the invention that the predefined fields can be gathered in different groups, where the entry of information in fields belonging to a first group may require a first level of authority, and the entry of information in fields belonging to a second group may require a second level of authority.

Access to the "file document" function may be restricted to a certain authority level, in a similar way.

According to the present invention, access to a form may be chosen in accordance with the security requirements associated with the document. The security level chosen can be taken from a number of available security levels.

One and the same form may be available to users of differing authority, according to different security levels.

According to the present invention, a form can be clearly identified and coupled to the issuer by the user.

A form can also be assigned a starting time, a termination time, and an opening time, thereby enabling a tendering procedure with a tendering opening to be undertaken.

The present invention also relates to a computer program product and to a computer readable medium that includes a computer program code, thereby enabling implementation of the inventive method.

Advantages

Those advantages primarily afforded by a method, a computer program product and a computer readable medium according to the present invention enable the management of electronic documents where all criteria for an original document can be maintained, and where the storage space occupied by a plurality of documents can be made more effective than known techniques in this regard. Different security levels can be managed, all in accordance with those requirements placed on different types of documents.

Moreover, when a user has commenced to fill-in a form and is unintentionally interrupted, the present invention enables the user to recommence the entry of information into the form at a later stage, without the information earlier entered being lost. Brief description of the drawings

A method, a computer program product, and a computer readable medium having features associated with the present invention will now be described in more detail by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which

Figure 1 is a schematic, highly simplified illustration of a method of managing electronic documents or a form constituting the basis of an electronic document; Figure 2 is a schematic illustration of the recreation of a document; Figure 3 illustrates schematically different versions of how a form can be managed; Figure 4 illustrates schematically different ways of storing information entered into a form; Figure 5 is a schematic illustration of how different users are able to manage the same form;

Figure 6 illustrates schematically the use of different form availability time; Figure 7 is a schematic illustration of how a form can be given a dynamic and be adapted to user requirements; and Figure 8 illustrates schematically how certain known user related information can be entered onto a form automatically.

Description of embodiments at present proposed

Figure 1 illustrates an electronic document management method in which an issuer of a form A, which is stored in a first computer unit 1 , makes the form available to a user C of a second computer unit 2 via a network N, wherein the form A is designed to enable the user C to give user information B to said issuer, by entering sub-information B1 , B2, B3 requested in the form A in accordance with fields F1 , F2, F3 pre-defined on the form A by the issuer via said second computer unit 2, and wherein a thus completed form A constitutes said document D. According to the invention, the first computer unit 1 includes, or co-acts with, at least one first and one second memory space 11 , 12. It will be understood that by different memory spaces is meant either different memory spaces belonging to one and the same physical memory unit or memory spaces that belong to physically separate memory units. For the sake of simplicity, these memory spaces have been shown schematically in the figures as separate memory units. The form A is stored in, and can be fetched from, the first memory space 11 together with a form identity Ai. The user information B is stored in the second memory space 12 together with, or is coupled to, an information identity Bi. The information identity Bi includes the user identity Ci, unique document identity Di associated with the user information B, and the form identity Ai.

The document identity Di corresponds to a registration number or daybook number, which, for instance, may be either a serial number or a random number. The document identity Di is intended to identify unequivocally the specific document that is obtained by combining the user information B with the form A. Thus, different documents that are created from one and the same form A by the same user C with mutually similar information B can be distinguished from each other by virtue of the unique document identity Di. One example of this consists in time reports that are filled-in by an employee each month, where each time report is created from the same form A by the same user C but with mutually different and unique document identities Di.

The separate handling, or management, of user data enables the issuer of the form to compile and process this information in accordance with his/her own requirements. For example, the information can be used for different presentations or statistical calculations. Such compilation, process and/or presentation can be effected with the aid of a third computer unit 3 which is separate from said second computer unit and which is given access to requisite information. The document D can also be recreated via a third computer unit 3.

Figure 2 is intended to show that combining the user information B and the form A can recreate the document D. This combination is achieved by matching the information identity Bi and the form identity Ai, which is possible by virtue of the fact that the information identity Bi includes the form identity Ai and can thereby be matched with the correct form identity Ai. Thus, there is obtained a specific document D that has an unequivocal identity Di.

Referring back to Figure 1 , it will be seen that the form A1 and sub- information B1 , B2, B3 entered on the form can be stored intermediately in a memory space 21 belonging to the second computer unit 2. This provides the user C with access to the form A, without being connected to the first computer unit 1.

Document management takes place in a first application 1a active in the first computer unit 1 , wherein the form A1 is adapted to a user application 2a active in the second computer unit 2. The user application 2a is completely separate from the first application 1a.

In accordance with present invention, the form A is available in several different formats A1 , A2, A3, each being adapted to different user applications.

The form A provides the same information and requests the same information regardless of the user application 2a through which the user is given access to the form.

The formats may be adapted to widely different user applications. By way of example, it can be mentioned here that a first format A1 may be adapted to require the form to be shown and filled-in through a user application 2a intended for word processing, such as MS Word®. A second format A2 may be adapted to require the form A to be shown and filled-in by a user application 2a for publishing information, such as Acrobat Reader®. A third format A3 may be adapted to require the form A to be shown and filled-in by a user application 2a for http, such as Internet Explorer® or Netscape®. It will also be understood that the appearance, or design, of the form is adapted to the relevant user application 2a. For example, the appearance of the form may need to be quite different with respect to a handheld computer, or a mobile telephone, than in respect of a word processor.

The form A may thus exist in different formats A1 , A2, A3 adapted to user applications that are normally available to the user C so that the user C need not have any particular user application installed in his/her computer 2 in order to manage the form, but that the user shall be able to use one of the user applications 2a already installed in the second computer unit 2.

Figure 3 is intended to show that different versions A, A', A" of the form are saved in the first memory space 1 1. In this embodiment, the form identity Ai consists of two parts, a first part Ai1 that clearly identifies the form, and a second part Ai2 that clearly identifies form versions. Thus, the information identity Bi includes both the first and the second part Ai1 , Ai2. Thus, a user can be offered an updated version of the form A', whereas the older version of the form A is still available for recreation of a document that has been created with this version of the form A and to allow a user who has not yet entered all the information requested to enter this information in a correct version of the form.

Figure 4 shows a form A with which a user is allocated two different ways of storing sub-information B1 , B2, B3 in the second memory space 12.

Storage can either be effected through a "save document" function 41 , meaning that sub-information B1 , B2 fed into the second computer unit is stored in the second memory space 12 and that the infeed of further sub-information B3 or the correction/alteration of earlier entered sub-information B1 , B2 can take place.

This enables a user to terminate the infeed of information and to continue entering information later on.

Entered information can also be stored by a "file document" function 42, meaning that sub-information B3 fed intc the second computer unit 2 is stored together with sub-information B1 , B2 earlier stored in the second memory space 12, and also meaning that subsequent to filing in accordance with this function the user is no longer permitted to correct stored sub-information B1 , B2, B3 or to enter further sub-information. According to the present invention, the "file document" function 42 includes a time notation 43, which enables the time at which the "file document" function 42 was activated to be established. This can be effected, for instance, by time- stamping 43' the entered user information B at the time of activating the "file document" function 42. In this case, the information identity Ai includes said time notation 43, for instance in the form of the time stamp 43'. The time notation 43 can be implemented in different ways, depending on the requirements placed on the final document. In some instances, it may suffice for the time notation 43 to be made through the internal clock of the seuond computer unit 2. It is also possible to allow the time notation to be recorded from the internal clock 43a of the first computer unit 1.

In other instances, there may be required a more precise time notation given by an external independent part 43b, such as time references available via the global network Internet or time references available through the medium of radio signals. According to one conceivable embodiment of the present invention, it is also possible to couple a time limiting function 44 to the "file document" function 42. This time limiting function 44 can be used to set a specific time point at which a user must activate the "file document" function 42. The time limiting function can be used to remind the user that the document must be filed within the near future. The function 44 may also file the document t automatically should the user not file the document himself at the given specific time point.

For example, there may be a latest time by which an income tax return form shall be filed at the taxation authorities (the Inland Revenue or the Internal

Revenue Service). The time limiting function 44 is then able to remind the user that the tax form shall be filed within the next twenty-four hours, for example by e- mail or SMS. The tax form can then be filed automatically by the time limiting function 44 at said specific time point, if the user has forgotten to do this himself. Another example resides in a written examination where the user has access to the form/examination paper(s) only for a limited period of time. When the time allocated for completing the examination has expired, the form and the information given therein is automatically filed by the time limiting function 44, whereafter no additional information or changes may be entered/made. According to the present invention, said specific time point is set by the issuer. There may also exist applications in which the user is permitted to use the time limiting function 44 by denoting automatically a desired specific time point himself/herself.

As with the earlier described time notation 43, the time limiting function 44 can be implemented in different ways, depending on the requirements placed thereon.

It is proposed in accordance with the present invention that the "save document" function 41 can be activated automatically without the user being aware of this activation, such as in the case of page change in the form A or when changing from one field F1 , F2, F3 to another on the form A. Certain formats even permit simultaneous storage of entered information, in other words the "save document" function is always implemented as soon as some sub-information has been entered. For example, this is possiυie in respect of a form adapted for http. When the "save document" function is implemented automatically, entered information will be stored should the infeed of information be interrupted unintentionally, for instance in the case of an interruption in the communication between the first and the second computer units 1 , 2, or in the case of dropout of the first and/or the second computer unit 1 , 2. Thus, stored information is still available after such an interruption in information infeed, therewith enabling the user to continue entering information later on.

The present invention also enables the user C to activate the "save document" function 41 , by means of a conscious manual action, such as by clicking on a button or key intended for this purpose.

Figure 5 illustrates the case in which a first user C1 terminates the infeed of information without activating the "file document" function 42, therewith enabling the form A to be made available to the first user C1 for the entry of additional information B3 or for the correction of earlier entered sub-information B1 , B2. It is also possible to make the form A' available to another user C2 for the entry of additional information B3 or the correction of earlier entered sub- information B1 , B2.

Later continuation of the infeed of information by the same user C1 or by another user C2 can be effected from another second computer unit 2', and, if so desired, via a user application 2'b other than the user application 2a earlier used for the entry of information, and thus on a form A2 of a different format. Thus, this can be done regardless of whether the interruption in the information feed was unintentional or not.

It is also proposed in accordance with the present invention that the predefined field F1 , F2, F3 can be gathered in different groups 1 F, 2F. The entry of information in fields belonging to a first group 1 F may require a first level of authority, while the entry of information in fields belonging to a second group 2F may require a second level of authority.

For example, the first user C1 and the second user C2 may be given different levels of authority with respect to the entry of sub-information on the form A.

The availability of the "file document" function 42 may also be restricted to a certain level of authority.

Similarly, the sub-information B1 in a field F1 belonging to a first group 1 F may be encrypted, so as to prevent a user that is not authorised in respect of this group from seeing the sub-information B1 entered in said field F1. It may also be so that a user that has no authority in respect of group 1 F cannot even see that part of the form that relates to group 1 F, but only that part of the form 2F for which he/she is authorised. For example, in conjunction with the purchase of goods or services, an official is permitted to fill-in field F1 , F2 in accordance with a first level of authority, where the choice of products or services is entered, whereas a purchase- responsible person or buyer having a second level of authority is permitted to fill-in fields F3 in accordance with another level of authority, for instance the authority to sign for the order. Thus, the buyer may also have the authority to fill-in or to correct information entered in the first fields F1 , F2. The buyer is then also suitably alone in being able to activate the "file document" function and to finally send the order to the supplier.

For example, a typical difference in levels of authority is when a number of users can enter information in different fields, while only one or a few persons has/have the authority to sign and file entered information.

It is also proposed in accordance with the invention that access to a form A is given in accordance with the requisite security requirements in respect of document D. This security can be chosen from a number of available security levels.

A first choosable security level may be one in which a form is available to any user whatsoever. For example, this may be a questionnaire that shall be kept available for the general public via the global network Internet. In this case, the user identity may consist of the true identity of the user, if required. It may also be possible to answer the questionnaire anonymously, meaning that the user identity is fictitious, such as a selectively entered identity. Alternatively, the field intended for the user identity need not be filled-in at all.

A second choosable security level may be one where the form is available to selected users that can be identified through the medium of a secret shared with the issuer, wherewith user identity is established by this identification. A common secret may, for instance, consist of a user name and a password or of a one-time password. This security level may, for instance, be used in connection with filling- in an employee's time report used to give an account of his/her working hours. A third choosable security level may be one in which the form is available to selected users that can be identified in a more secure manner than by a common secret, such as by asymmetrical keys. Security can be amplified further, by allowing an independent certification or authority to confirm the validity of the public key used. In this case, the identity of the user can be established by this identification. This security level may, for instance, be used in drawing-up an employment agreement or filling in an income tax return form for a tax authority (Inland Revenue or the Internal Revenue Service).

It is also proposed in accordance with the invention that one and the same form may be available to users of differing degrees of authority and in accordance with different security levels for said different users. For example, a lower security level can be accepted for a user who enters information in the form and is able to use the "save document" function, whereas a higher security level may be required in respect of a user who is authorised to sign and/or to use the "file document" function.

It will be understood that the aforesaid security levels concern the security required in order for the document to be made available to the user. It is proposed in accordance with the present invention that the user shall be able to clearly identify and couple a form to the issuer. This can be achieved by forms of all of said security levels being accompanied by a certificate that clearly identifies the issuer of the form.

Figure 6 illustrates a form that can Ue allotted a validity time, which includes a start time ti and/or an expiry time t2. This means that the form will not be available to a user prior to the start time ti. The form can thus be prepared and announced to different users, and made available at a specific time. The form is no longer available to the user after the expiry time t2. For example, an examination paper can be made available to pupils undergoing a given type of education, between a start time ti and an expiry time t.2, meaning that the pupils have access to the examination paper during this time period. In accordance with the invention, selective users can be given access to a form prior to its start time t-i, for an evaluation of the form in conjunction with its development. The form may also be given an opening time t3, where the issuer is given access to the user information B at said opening time t3 at the earliest.

This enables a tendering or bidding procedure with opening of tender to be carried out, in which tender enquiries are available between the start time ti and the expiry time t2, and in which the opening of tenders can take place at the opening time tz at the earliest.

Figure 7 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the present invention, in which a form A is divided into different fragments Aa, Ab, Ac, and where respective fragments are adapted for different applications. For example, an application for insurance coverage can be offered through the medium of a form A, where different fragments or parts Aa, Ab, Ac of the form offer different types of insurance, such as car insurance, boat insurance, motorcycle insurance, and so forth. The user shall be able to choose actively which of the fragments Aa, Ab, Ac shall be shown, by clicking on one of several available keys 5a, 5b, 5c shown in a main fragment Ah of the form A.

As illustrated in Figure 8, the first computer unit 1 may include or co-act with a third memory space 13. In this case, personal information Pi belonging to the user C is stored in the third memory space 13. This personal information Pi may consist of the user's name, address, telephone number, etc., entered by the user on a first form 1A.

According to the present invention, the personal information Pi also includes the user identity Ci.

This personal information Pi enables the first computer unit 1 to identify the user C in conjunction with the user C filling-in, or completing, another form 2A. The first computer unit therewith fetches the personal information Pi from the third memory space 13 and allows said information to be entered automatically in the other form 2A. This enables certain fields F'1 , F'2 to be already filled in when a user opens a form 2A, provided that the user is known to the first computer unit, in other words provided that corresponding personal information Pi is present in the third memory space 13.

In accordance with the present invention, a form can be designed so that the document D that can be created by a combination of the form A and the information B from a user C fulfils the requirements of an original document and thus constitutes a digital original document. Referring back to Figure 1 , it will be seen that the present invention also relates to a computer program product 6 that includes a computer program code 61 which when executed by a computer unit enables said computer unit to function as a first computer unit 1 in accordance with the inventive method.

The present invention also relates to a computer readable medium 7, illustrated schematically as a diskette by way of example. The computer readable medium has stored therein a computer program code 71 which when executed by a computer unit enables said computer unit to function as a first computer unit 1 in accordance with the inventive method.

It will be understood that the invention is not restricted to the aforedescribed and illustrated exemplifying embodiments thereof and that modifications can be made within the scope of the inventive concept as illustrated in the accompanying Claims.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US81086386 Feb 200931 Jan 2012International Business Machines CorporationBackup of deduplicated data
US82810993 Jan 20122 Oct 2012International Business Machines CorporationBackup of deduplicated data
Classifications
International ClassificationG06F17/24
Cooperative ClassificationG06F17/243
European ClassificationG06F17/24F
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