SNARF is an experiment in viewing email, sorting it by social accounting information and slicing it by its recipient list.
Microsoft Research's Community Technology presents SNARF, the Social Network and Relationship Finder.
SNARF was built around the notion that social network information that is already available to the computer system can be usefully reflected to the user: a message from a manager might be seen differently than a message from a stranger, for example. SNARF applies this idea to email triage: handling the flow of messages when time is short and mail is long.
The SNARF UI is designed to provide a quick overview of unread mail, organized by its importance. The UI shows a series of different panes with unread mail in them; each pane shows a list of authors of messages. Clicking on a name shows all messages involving that person.
People use a variety of strategies to handle triage; there is no single "best" ordering of email messages to produce an optimal outcome.
SNARF gives the user the freedom to build their own ordering. Each person in their inbox is assigned a set of meta-information: "number of emails sent in the last month," for example. These metrics can, in turn, be combined to create an ordering across all contacts. For more information, check out the CEAS paper on SNARF.
SNARF requires Microsoft Outlook (2002 or later) as a MAPI source. It has been tested with Exchange and MAPI servers, Hotmail, POP, IMAP, and the OL Connector for Lotus Notes. SNARF does not work with Outlook Express.
Download SNARF from the Microsoft Research Downloads site.
Run snarf.msi. It will install the .Net framework if needed and then install SNARF.
Version 1.7.005. Installs correctly for .NET 2.0. Control-A now "selects all" for message list, and other minor UI tweaks.
Help with SNARF
"Too Many E-Mails? SNARF Them Up!" by Rob Kreis. Microsoft Research News & Highlights. November 30, 2005.
"Microsoft Research tool 'snarfs' up unwanted e-mail" by Elizabeth Montalbano. Computerworld. December 1, 2005
"SNARF Makes Social Sense of E-Mail" by Susan Kuchinskas. InternetNews. December 1, 2005.
"SNARFing your way through e-mail" by Ina Fried. CNet News.com. December 2, 2005.
- Danyel Fisher, A.J. Brush, Bernie Hogan, Marc A. Smith, and Andy Jacobs, Using Social Metadata in Email Triage: Lessons from the Field, no. MSR-TR-2007-19, February 2007
- Danyel Fisher, A.J. Brush, Eric Gleave, and Marc A. Smith, Revisiting Whittaker & Sidner’s “Email Overload” Ten Years Later, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., November 2006
- Danyel Fisher, Bernie Hogan, A.J. Brush, Marc A. Smith, and Andy Jacobs, Using Social Sorting to Enhance Email Management, January 2006
- Carman Neustaedter, A.J. Brush, Marc A. Smith, and Danyel Fisher, The Social Network and Relationship Finder: Social Sorting for Email Triage, CEAS, July 2005
- Carman Neustaedter, A.J. Brush, and Marc A. Smith, Beyond "From" and "Received": Exploring the Dynamics of Email Triage, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., April 2005
- Carman Neustaedter, A.J. Brush, and Marc Smith, Beyond “From” and “Received”: Social Sorting for Email Triage, no. MSR-TR-2004-103, September 2004
- Gina Danielle Venolia and Carman Neustaedter, Understanding sequence and reply relationships within email conversations: a mixed-model visualization, in CHI '03: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2003