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Bits & Bytes
A `POSTAL CLERK' TO SORT THROUGH THE CYBERMAIL
As the sea of data available from cyberspace continues to rise, the software industry holds out the lofty promise of software "agents" that will go out onto computer networks and gather nuggets of useful information. But many corporate networks already have too much information flooding the network--internal memos, e-mail from clients and branch offices, wire feeds from news organizations such as the Associated Press. Now, software maker SAS Institute in Cary, N.C., provides an easy way to regulate and route the information that comes streaming into any network.
Its Infotap software can be installed on any UNIX-based network server. By answering a series of questions, office workers tell the system what data files they want and where to store them--say, news stories about airlines in a subdirectory called "plane" and e-mail from the boss in a directory called "bossmemo." The software can "read" the files and build an index of the information or distribute it to members of a work group. The software--which costs $10,000 for a server with five "clients"--makes it easier to manage large amounts of information from different sources by using an interface that mimics a desktop, complete with books, workbooks, and folders.