Blogger: Bill Pray
E-mail task management tends to be anemic in its capabilities to help users track their commitments. Fortunately, new approaches in technology are starting to tackle this challenge.
In an effort to find ways to improve task management in the e-mail environment, The Science Foundation Ireland and the US Office of Naval Research funded research by Rinat Khoussainov and Nicholas Kushmerick of the Department of Computer Science of the University College Dublin, Ireland. Their research concluded:
“Our experiments demonstrated that: (1) structured features in email, such as message subject and send dates, can be very useful for identification of related messages and grouping them into email tasks; (2) the properties of related messages in the same task can be used to improve the semantic message analysis. In particular, the features of related messages in a task can improve the performance of the email speech acts classification; (3) the semantic metadata in messages can be used to improve the quality of task identification.”
This research was published in 2005 and four years later start-up companies are just beginning to offer solutions that employ algorithms to perform the kind of analysis described in the research. One such offering launched yesterday – Liaise. Solutions like the offering from Liaise are attempting to push e-mail task management to the next level by surfacing the commitments in context of the user’s e-mail environment and, eventually, in any text-based communication.