NASA has developed a method and system that provides selective access to different portions of a database by different subgroups of database users. In this system, two or more members of a given access subgroup can simultaneously edit a document accessible to each member. This database system provides selective access to different portions of the database for different groups of users, where the different groups may have overlapping access group memberships. When N users are involved, up to 2N-1 distinguishable access subgroups in a group space can be formed, and no two access subgroups can have the same members. This system is very flexible and allows for change in definition of the portions of the database accessible by a specified access group. Provisions of selective access to the database allow restriction of user access to the information contained in different portions of the database based upon need to know or another suitable authorization scheme.

A complex project has many tasks and sub-tasks, many phases, and many collaborators, and will often have an associated database with many users, each of which has a limited need to know that does not extend to all information in the database. In this system, the database receives information from one or more information sources and is queried by a plurality of users. The database permits selective access of a given user to different portions of the database, depending upon the user’s identity and access permissions. Optionally, members of the same access subgroup can be assigned different numerical priorities in a queue so that, as between first and second users in the subgroup, draft editing of a document by the first user will subsequently be reviewed, declined, or either partly entered or wholly entered by the second user. User access to different portions of the database is initially determined when a user account is set up. User access can be subsequently changed according to the circumstances.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact the Ames Technology Partnerships Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link here  for more information.


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This article first appeared in the April, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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