MARS - a Message Archiving and Retrieval Service
RFC 744

Document Type RFC - Unknown (January 1978; No errata)
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NWG/RFC  744                                   JS5 8-Jan-78 21:59  42857
Network Working Group                                     Joanne Sattley
Request for Comments: 744                                        JZS@CCA
NIC: 42857                                                8 January 1978

             MARS - A Message Archiving & Retrieval Service

I.    Introduction
      ------------

This document describes a Message Archiving  and  Retrieval  Service
(MARS) which has been developed at Computer Corporation of America; it
utilizes the Datacomputer, a network database utility developed by CCA
for  ARPA.   [Research  and development of a prototype MARS system was
supported by the Defense Advanced  Research  Projects  Agency  of  the
Department  of  Defense,  under the ARPA Very Large Databases program,
and was monitored by the Office of Naval Research under  Contract  No.
N00014-76-C-0991.]

The  Service  is  available,  primarily,  to  groups  for  storage  of
teleconferencing transcripts.  Is is also available, upon request,  to
individual ARPANET correspondents.

There  are  both  'public'  and  'private'  messages  in the database.
Public messages may be retrieved by  anyone.   The  public  collection
includes  the  messages of the Header-People [@ MIT-MC] group, and the
MsgGroup [@ USC-ISI] proceedings.

Private messages may be retrieved only by the users who have  archived
them,  or anyone whose name appears on the list of message recipients.

Messages archived using MARS are heavily indexed and can be  retrieved
in  a  variety  of  ways,  including  Boolean  combinations of message
recipients, message composition date, any text words  in  the  message
subject,  and text words in the message body.  The MARS facilities are
integrated  very   naturally   into   the   existing   collection   of
message-handling tools:

   . A message is designated for archiving by sending it to
     MARS-Filer @ CCA using one of the usual message-mailing tools such
     as SNDMSG.

   . A message is designated for retrieval by sending a request as
     ordinary mail to MARS-Retriever @ CCA.

The  Filer  program  checks for mail every hour; the Retriever program
checks every quarter-hour.  The periodicity can  be  altered  to  meet
demand  but  the intent is for MARS to operate as a background job and
only during extremely low-activity periods.

The next section (II) describes  the  indexing  operation  in  greater
detail,  and  how  to archive and retrieve messages.  The last section
(III) is an extractable user card.

                                                                [Page 1]


NWG/RFC  744                                   JS5 8-Jan-78 21:59  42857
MARS - A Message Archiving & Retrieval Service

II.       Using MARS
          ----------

A.  Message Indexing
    ----------------

For each message, a vector of parsed tokens is  created.   The  parsed
tokens are collected by the message-field in which they occurred -- to
be  used  as  "indexes",  i.e.,  values  of  inverted  fields,  by the
Datacomputer.

The Filer "indexes", essentially  without  analysis,  except  for  the
following:

   --  Each distinguishable section of the message is indexed
       separately; each header line is a separate inversion domain, as
       is the body of the message.

   --  The header lines which contain ARPANET addresses are analyzed in
       order to index separately on mailbox and host.

   --  The date-field is parsed and converted to the standard Tenex
       internal date/time format, which is better adapted for
       less-than/greater-than comparisons, as in retrievals which
       specify a date range.

   --  One-character words in both the subject-field and the
       message-text field arbitrarily discarded.

   --  Two-character words in the message-text field are arbitrarily
       discarded.

   --  Hyphenated phrases, i.e., words bound together by hyphens, are
       retained intact.

   --  All message formats which conform to RFC  733 standards are
       accommodated.  The minimum requirements are:  a date-field, a
       from-field, and a blank line between the message-header and
       message-body.

                                                                [Page 2]


NWG/RFC  744                                   JS5 8-Jan-78 21:59  42857
MARS - A Message Archiving & Retrieval Service

B.  To Archive Messages
    -------------------

There  are  three modes of filing currently supported by MARS, to wit:

   --  single-message mode, wherein the MARS-Filer mailbox appears in
       the message as an addressee;

   --  forwarded-message mode, wherein the MARS-Filer mailbox appears as
       the only primary recipient;

   and

   --  batch mode, wherein the mailing envelope is addressed to
       MARS-Filer and the subject-field contains the keyword "batch".

Until the ARPANET standard for the format of messages  is  implemented
universally, the variability amongst formats is still greater than the
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