Debbie Deutsch talked about some work being done at BBN on multimedia mail. Debbie discussed the alternatives for including other types of data (voice, graphics, fax, numeric, executable) in messages… The main choice to make is between encoding the data in ASCII and using keyword field identifiers, or using a binary typed structured format.
– Postel, Jon; Summary Of Computer Mail Services Meeting Held At BBN On 10 January 1979; RFC 808; 1 March 1982.
Long, long ago, before email was invented, paper-based letters and documents sometimes included separately packaged and often bulky “attachments”, for example “Attachment A — Widget Diagrams”. As has often been the case, this offline concept transferred to the Internet, and today you can easily attach documents, graphics, programs, and other files to electronic mail. The following sections take you under the hood to provide more information on attachment encoding formats and use: