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SNARF, the Social Network and Relationship Finder

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.

System Requirements

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.

Installation Instructions

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

A help system to explain SNARF can be found at the SNARF Guide. Or just drop us a line, and let us know how you are liking SNARF.

SNARF Articles

"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 December 2, 2005.

More Information

SNARF Help and GuideThe SNARF community at GotDotNet User stories: how we use SNARF MSR Community Technologies Group