Title:
Method and system for storing audio, video or computer data media
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and system for storing audio, video or computer data media is described. In one implementation, a storage system has a support structure with a first rail and a second rail that are oriented substantially parallel to one another, a carrier having a first attachment member, a second attachment member, a first channel and a second channel. The first rail engages the carrier at the first channel and the second rail engages the carrier at the second channel. Also, a plurality of sleeves are included, in which each sleeve comprises an edge having a first cutout and a second cutout, wherein the first attachment member engages each of the sleeves at the first cutouts of their respective edges, and wherein the second attachment member engages each of the sleeves at the second cutouts of their respective edges.



Inventors:
Chapple, Bryn Lincoln (Lincoln, NZ)
Hartstone, Mark (St. Heliers, NZ)
Application Number:
11/042005
Publication Date:
12/08/2005
Filing Date:
01/24/2005
Assignee:
MEDIA TREE LIMITED (Glendowie, NZ)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
G9B/23.02, G9B/33.018, G9B/33.021, G9B/23.015
International Classes:
G11B23/023; G11B23/03; G11B33/04; (IPC1-7): B65D85/57
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Chicago) (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A storage system for audio, video or computer data media, the system comprising: a support structure comprising a first rail and a second rail, the first rail, and the second rail being oriented substantially parallel to one another; a carrier comprising a first attachment member and a second attachment member, the carrier having a first channel and a second channel, wherein the first rail engages the carrier at the first channel and the second rail engages the carrier at the second channel; and a plurality of sleeves, each sleeve comprising an edge having a first cutout and a second cutout, wherein the first attachment member engages each of the sleeves at the first cutouts of their respective edges, and wherein the second attachment member engages each of the sleeves at the second cutouts of their respective edges.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the support structure has a channel defined between the first and second rails, the channel being substantially parallel to the first and second rails, and wherein the carrier further comprises a tongue that extends into the groove.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the carrier further comprises a generally U-shaped body comprising a first side panel, a second side panel, and a base, wherein the first side panel has an inner surface, and an outer surface, the second side panel has an inner surface and an outer surface, the base has an inner surface and an outer surface, and the inner surfaces of the first side panel, second side panel, and base define a main cavity.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein the first attachment member is connected at one end to the inner surface of the first side panel, extends through the main cavity, and is connected at its other end to the inner surface of the second side panel.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein the second attachment member is connected at one end to the inner surface of the first side panel, extends through the main cavity, and is connected at its other end to the inner surface of the second side panel at the second convex portion.

6. The system of claim 3, wherein the first side panel has a first portion that is convex with respect to the base and a second portion that is convex with respect to the base, and a portion that is concave with respect to the base, and wherein the second side panel has a first portion that is convex with respect to the base, a second portion that is convex with respect to the base, and a portion that is concave with respect to the base.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein the first attachment member is connected at one end to the inner surface of the first side panel at its first convex portion, extends through the main cavity, and is connected at its other end to the inner surface of the second side panel at its first convex portion, and wherein the second attachment member is connected at one end to the inner surface of the first side panel at its second convex portion, extends through the main cavity, and is connected at its other end to the inner surface of the second side panel at its second convex portion.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the first attachment member has a substantially flat top surface and at least two curved lateral surfaces, and wherein, the second attachment member has a substantially flat top surface, and at least two curved lateral surfaces.

9. The system of claim 3, wherein the first side panel transitions into the base via a series of curved transition regions, wherein, between two of the transition regions of the first side panel, the first side panel has a tongue, wherein the second side panel transitions into the base via a series of curved transition regions.

10. The system of claim 3, wherein the first side panel has a first cutout defined by a substantially U-shaped edge and a second cutout defined by a substantially U-shaped edge, wherein the second side panel of the generally U-shaped body has a first cutout defined by a substantially U-shaped edge, and a second cutout defined by a substantially U-shaped edge.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein the base of the substantially U-shaped body has a first cutout defined by two lateral, substantially U-shaped edges, and a second cutout defined by two lateral, substantially U-shaped edges, wherein the first cutout of the first side panel, the first cutout of the base, and the first cutout of the second side panel define the first channel, and wherein the second cutout of the first side panel, the second cutout of the base, and the second cutout of the second side panel define the second channel.

12. The system of claim 1, wherein when the plurality of sleeves is engaged to the carrier the system has a generally straight profile, in which the plurality of sleeves is generally parallel to one another.

13. The system of claim 1, wherein the carrier is one of a plurality of carriers, each of which is attached to the first and second rails, and each of which has a plurality of sleeves attached thereto.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein, in addition to the carriers being attached to the first and second rails, a standalone sleeve is attached directly to the first and second rails via cutouts on the edge of the sleeve.

15. The system of claim 3, wherein the base and the first side panel are connected to one another via a first live hinge, and wherein the base and the first side panel are connected to one another via a second live hinge.

16. A system for storing audio, video or computer data media, the system comprising: a unitary body comprising a first rail, a second rail, a first substantially flat upper surface, a second substantially flat upper surface, and a third substantially flat upper surface, wherein the first rail has an inner lateral surface and an outer lateral surface, the second rail has an inner lateral surface and an outer lateral surface, the first substantially flat upper surface transitions into the second substantially flat upper surface via a first substantially vertical surface and a first lip, the third substantially flat upper surface transitions into the second substantially flat upper surface via a second substantially vertical surface and a second lip, the inner lateral surface of the first rail, the first substantially flat upper surface, the first substantially vertical surface, and the first lip define a first channel, and the inner lateral surface of the second rail, the third substantially flat upper surface, the second substantially vertical surface, and the second lip define a second channel, a carrier comprising a support structure, a the carrier having a first tongue that extends into the first channel and a second tongue that extends into the second channel, the carrier further comprising a first lip that engages the first lip of the unitary body, and a second lip that engages the second lip of the unitary body, wherein the first tongue and the first lip of the carrier are oriented substantially perpendicular to one another, and the second tongue and the second lip of the carrier are oriented substantially perpendicular to one another, the carrier further having a first channel and a second channel, each of which extends through the carrier, wherein the first rail engages the carrier at the first channel of the carrier, and wherein the second rail engages the carrier at the second channel of the carrier; and a plurality of substantially flat items, each of the plurality having a cutout at least one of its edges, wherein each of the substantially flat items engages the support structure of the carrier at the cutout.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein the carrier squeeze fits onto the unitary body.

18. The system of claim 16, wherein the lips of the carrier and the lips of the unitary body engage in an interference fit.

19. A method for organizing audio, video or computer data media, the method comprising storing a first set of substantially flat video or audio data products in a first plurality of sleeves; storing a second set of substantially flat video or audio data products in a second plurality of sleeves, wherein each sleeve of the first and second plurality of sleeves comprises an edge having a first cutout and a second cutout, attaching the first plurality of sleeves to a first carrier; attaching the second plurality of sleeves to a second carrier, wherein each of the first and second carriers comprises a first support bar, a second support bar and has a first channel and a second channel, wherein, for each of the respective first and second carriers, the first support bar engages each of the sleeves of the respective first and second plurality of sleeves at the first cutouts of their respective edges, and wherein the second support bar engages each of the sleeves of the respective first and second plurality of sleeves at the second cutouts of their respective edges; and attaching the first and second carriers to a storage system comprising a base comprising a first rail and a second rail, the first rail, and the second rail being oriented substantially parallel to one another, wherein the first rail engages the carrier at the first channel and the second rail engages the carrier at the second channel.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising removing the second carrier from the storage system and attaching it to a wallet, the wallet comprising a base comprising a first rail and a second rail, the first rail, and the second rail being oriented substantially parallel to one another, wherein the first rail engages the carrier at the first channel and the second rail engages the carrier at the second channel.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/505,567, filed on Aug. 24, 2004, which is a U.S. National Stage Application of PCT/NZ2003/000227, filed Oct. 9, 2003.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention generally relates generally to the storage of substantially flat articles and, more particularly, to a storage system for audio, video or computer data media that includes a portable carrier.

BACKGROUND

As younger generations become more comfortable with Compact Discs (CDs) and Digital Versatile Discs (DVDs), and as the technology to reproduce data becomes cheaper, the way in which people store and use CDs and DVDs has changed. For example, back when CDs were both expensive and impossible to create at home, the typical consumer would keep the CD in its jewel case along with the liner notes, and would store it on a relatively fixed shelf. The consumer might also take a few CDs out of the jewel cases and store them in a box or wallet for use in the car. Now, the availability of cheap CD burners and software, and song-by-song download services, consumers now tend to have more homemade CDs than store-bought ones. Since they are relatively cheap to make, these homemade CDs proliferate quickly. Also, homemade CDs tend are more likely to be mixed and matched, depending on what listening experience the consumer wants. For example, a consumer might have several parties to attend, and may wish to bring a different mix of home-made CDs to each party. Thus, when the consumer shops for a storage solution for CDs portability is an even greater issue than in the past. The same can be said for all types of audio, video and data storage media—as the media and the tools for creating it become cheaper, consumers will have more of it, will “personalize” the content, and will require portable storage solutions.

SUMMARY

In accordance with the foregoing, a storage system for audio, video or computer data media is provided. In one embodiment, the system has a support structure with a first rail and a second rail that are oriented substantially parallel to one another, a carrier having a first attachment member, a second attachment member, a first channel and a second channel. In this embodiment, the first rail engages the carrier at the first channel and the second rail engages the carrier at the second channel. The embodiment also has a plurality of sleeves, each sleeve comprising an edge having a first cutout and a second cutout, wherein the first attachment member engages each of the sleeves at the first cutouts of their respective edges, and wherein the second attachment member engages each of the sleeves at the second cutouts of their respective edges.

In another embodiment of the invention, the system has a unitary body with a first rail, a second rail, a first substantially flat upper surface, a second substantially flat upper surface, and a third substantially flat upper surface. The first and second rails each have an inner lateral surface and an outer lateral surface. The first substantially flat upper surface transitions into the second substantially flat upper surface via a first substantially vertical surface and a first lip, and the third substantially flat upper surface transitions into the second substantially flat upper surface via a second substantially vertical surface and a second lip. In this embodiment, the inner lateral surface of the first rail, the first substantially flat upper surface, the first substantially vertical surface, and the first lip define a first channel, while the inner lateral surface of the second rail, the third substantially flat upper surface, the second substantially vertical surface, and the second lip define a second channel. The system also includes a carrier comprising a support structure, a first tongue that extends into the first channel and a second tongue that extends into the second channel, a first lip that engages the first lip of the unitary body, and a second lip that engages the second lip of the unitary body, wherein the first tongue and the first lip of the carrier are oriented substantially perpendicular to one another, and the second tongue and the second lip of the carrier are oriented substantially perpendicular to one another. The first rail engages the carrier at a first channel of the carrier, and the second rail engages the carrier at a second channel of the carrier. The embodiment also includes a plurality of substantially flat items, each of the plurality having a cutout at least one of its edges, wherein each of the substantially flat items engages the support structure of the carrier at the cutout.

Yet another embodiment of the invention involves a method for organizing audio, video or computer data media, in which a first set of substantially flat video or audio data products is stored in a first plurality of sleeves, and a second set of substantially flat video or audio data products is stored in a second plurality of sleeves, wherein each sleeve of the first and second plurality of sleeves comprises an edge having a first cutout and a second cutout. In this embodiment, the first plurality of sleeves is attached to a first carrier, and the second plurality of sleeves is attached to a second carrier. Each of the first and second carriers comprises a first support bar, a second support bar and has a first channel and a second channel. For each of the respective first and second carriers, the first support bar engages each of the sleeves of the respective first and second plurality of sleeves at the first cutouts of their respective edges. The second support bar engages each of the sleeves of the respective first and second plurality of sleeves at the second cutouts of their respective edges. Finally, the method further includes attaching the first and second carriers to a storage system comprising a base comprising a first rail and a second rail, the first rail, and the second rail being oriented substantially parallel to one another, wherein the first rail engages the carrier at the first channel and the second rail engages the carrier at the second channel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other aspects of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIGS. 1-7 illustrate various embodiments of a carrier configured according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 illustrates how multiple carriers can be connected according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 9 illustrates a wallet-type construction for holding one or more carriers according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 10 illustrates a support structure for holding one or more carriers according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 11-13 illustrate a rail system configured according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 14-17 illustrate a variation of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 & 2

FIGS. 18-19 illustrate another rail system configured according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 20-22, 23a and 23b illustrate another embodiment of the carrier;

FIG. 24 illustrates how multiple carriers can be attached to a single storage system according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 25 illustrates a storage system for use in a typical office filing drawer according to an embodiment of the invention; and

FIGS. 26 and 27 illustrate yet another embodiment of the carrier.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention is generally directed to a carrier for substantially flat items. The substantially flat items may be sleeves to hold audio, video or computer data media. For example, the sleeves may hold one or more CD's, Zip Drives, Zip disks, floppy disks, CD ROMs, DVDs or the like. The carrier may carry the substantially flat items in any number of configurations. For example, the carrier may carry the substantially flat items so that the substantially flat items are hanging below the carrier and supported from above, or standing above the carrier and supported from below. The carrier may also carry the substantially flat items from the side, so that the substantially flat items are in at least a partially horizontal orientation. An embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to FIG. 1, in which a carrier, generally labeled 10, is shown. The carrier 10 includes a base portion 17, a first side 12 and a second side 13. The carrier 10 also includes one or more bars. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the carrier 10 includes two spaced apart bars 11, which are supported by the first and second sides 12 and 13. Protrusions 14 extend from the first side 12 and apertures 15 are provided in second side 13. Additionally, one or more channels are set into the base portion. For example, in FIG. 1, two channels 16 are set into the base portion 17. Each of the one or more channels is configured to engage a support mechanism, such as one or more rails. In FIG. 1, each of the two channels 16 has a narrow mouth that is adapted to engage a pair of rails of similar geometry, as described below.

Referring to FIG. 2, the carrier 10 is able to receive a substantially flat item 20. In an embodiment of the invention, the substantially flat item comprises a sleeve with a cutout or number of cutouts at one end thereof. The cut-out or cut-outs are generally adapted to engage the one or more bars of the carrier. In the illustrated embodiment, there are two cutouts labeled 23, each of which has a narrow mouth, which are adapted to engage the bars 11 of the carrier 10. The cut-out or cut-outs 23 are provided in an end section 21 of the substantially flat item 20. The end section 21 is substantially narrower in thickness than the remainder of the substantially flat item 20. This is especially true when one or more CDs or the like are inserted in the sleeve.

Referring to FIGS. 3-5, another example of a carrier configured according to an embodiment of the invention is shown. As shown in FIGS. 3 & 4, the carrier, generally labeled 100 includes a generally U-shaped body 102, a first attachment member 104 and a second attachment member 106. The attachment members each have a geometry that corresponds to the geometry of cutouts on substantially flat items that are intended to be attached to the carrier 100. The generally U-shaped body 102 has a first side panel 108, a second side panel 110, and a base 112. The first side panel 108 has an inner surface 114 and an outer surface 116. Similarly, the second side panel 110 has an inner surface 118 and an outer surface 120. The base 112 also has an inner surface 122 and an outer surface 124. The inner surfaces 114, 122, and 124 of the first side panel 108, second side panel 110, and base 112 define a main cavity 126. The first side panel 108 has a first portion that is convex with respect to the base 112 and a second portion that is convex with respect to the base 112. These portions will be referred to herein as the first convex portion 128 and the second convex portion 130. The first side panel 108 also has a portion that is concave with respect to the base 112, which will be referred to herein as the concave portion 130. Like the first side panel 108, the second side panel has a first convex portion 132, a second convex portion 134, and a concave portion 136.

Referring still to FIGS. 3 & 4, the first attachment member 104 is connected at one end to the inner surface 114 of the first side panel 108 at the first convex portion 128, extends through the main cavity 126, and is connected at its other end to the inner surface 118 of the second side panel 110 at the first convex portion 132. The second attachment member 106 is connected at one end to the inner surface 114 of the first side panel 108 at the second convex portion 130, extends through the main cavity 126, and is connected at its other end to the inner surface 118 of the second side panel 110 at the second convex portion 134. The first attachment member 104 has a substantially flat top surface 138, and two curved lateral surfaces 140 and 142. Similarly, the second attachment member 106 has a substantially flat top surface 144, and two curved lateral surfaces 146 and 148.

Continuing with FIGS. 3 & 4, the first side panel 108 transitions into the base 112 via a series of curved transition regions 182, 184, 186, and 188. Between two of the transition regions 184 and 186, the first side panel 108 has a tongue 185. Likewise, the second side panel 110 transitions into the base 112 via a series of curved transition regions 190, 192, 194, and 196. Between two of the transition regions 192 and 194, the first side panel 108 has a tongue 193. The second side panel 110 may also have a tongue between two of its transition regions. The first side panel 108 of the generally U-shaped body 102 has a first cutout 150 defined by a substantially U-shaped edge 152, and a second cutout 154 defined by a substantially U-shaped edge 156. Similarly, the second side panel 110 of the generally U-shaped body 102 has a first cutout 158 defined by a substantially U-shaped edge 160, and a second cutout 162 defined by a substantially U-shaped edge 164. The base 112 of the substantially U-shaped body 102 has a first cutout 166 defined by two lateral, substantially U-shaped edges 168 and 170, and a second cutout 172 defined by two lateral, substantially U-shaped edges 174 and 176.

The first cutout 150 (FIG. 3) of the first side panel 108, the first cutout 166 (FIG. 4) of the base 112, and the first cutout 158 (FIG. 4) of the second side panel 110 together define a first passage 178 (FIG. 5) in the body 112. Similarly, the second cutout 154 (FIG. 3) of the first side panel 108, the second cutout 162 (FIG. 4) of the base 112, and the second cutout 172 (FIG. 4) of the second side panel 110 together define a second passage 180 (FIG. 5) in the body 112. The first and second passages 178 and 180 (FIG. 5) extend through the first side panel 108 and through the second side panel 110. The geometry of the first and second passages corresponds to the geometry of first and second rails or other attachment mechanism to which the carrier 100 may be attached.

In an embodiment of the invention, when multiple substantially flat items are engaged to the carrier (as, for example, described in conjunction with FIG. 2), the result is an assembly with a generally straight profile, in which the substantially flat items are generally parallel to one another. FIG. 6 illustrates an example (shown in a side view), in which a carrier 10 supports multiple substantially flat items 20 from the bottom.

Referring to FIG. 7, another embodiment of the carrier is shown. This second embodiment has many of the same features as the embodiments depicted and described in conjunction with FIGS. 3-5, as indicated by the repetition of some of the same reference numbers. One distinct feature of the embodiment of FIG. 7 is that the first and second attachment members 104 and 106 have respective curved outer surfaces 200 and 202, and the first and second cutouts 150 and 154 of the first side panel 108, and the first and second cutouts 158 and 162 of the second side panel 110 are defined by respective edges that are more circular than those depicted in the embodiments of FIGS. 3-5.

The various embodiments of the carrier described herein can be used in a variety of ways. For example, a consumer can secure multiple DVD sleeves, each holding at least one DVD, to the attachment members 104 and 106 (FIG. 3). The consumer can then hold onto the carrier 100 with the DVD sleeves hanging below the carrier. The consumer can attach the carrier to a storage device, such as a wallet. The storage device may, itself, hold multiple carriers, each having multiple DVD sleeves secured thereto. Various ways in which the carrier can be attached to a storage device will now be described.

Referring to FIG. 8, an embodiment is shown in which a number of carriers 10 are able to be connected together. This is achieved by the provision of a suitable engagement mechanism, such as the protrusions 14 on one side of the carrier 10 and the corresponding apertures or sockets 15 on the other side. The protrusions 14 fit into the sockets 15, and may be a “snap” fit or interference fit, either of which is achieved by suitable shaping and sizing of the protrusions 14 and the receiving apertures 15.

In an embodiment of the invention, various carriers or storage components are provided. For example, FIG. 9 shows a wallet-type construction 30, which has a base 31, and a lid 32 connected by a hinge, such as a living plastic hinge 33. The channels 16 of the carrier 10 “snap” onto rails 34 provided in the wallet 30. That is to say the channels 16 and rails 34 are complementary. Alternatively an interference fit can be provided between the channels 16 and the rails 34.

Referring to FIG. 10, a support structure in the form of a transportation or mounting plate 40 is shown. The mounting plate 40 includes a pair of ribs 41. Each of the ribs 41 has a bulbous cross-section. The channels 16 engage the ribs 41. The ribs 41 and channels 16 can be mated with a “snap” fit. Alternatively, the channels 16 can be introduced onto a section of the ribs 41, and the carrier 10 can be slid along the ribs 41. Generally, a “snap” fit is preferred.

In an embodiment of the invention, the carrier is attached to a storage device via one or more rails. An example will now be described with reference to FIGS. 11 and 12, which depict a rail system. The rail system includes a unitary body 320. The unitary body 320 has a first rail 304 and a second rail 312. The first rail 304 has a substantially flat top surface 306, an outer curved lateral surface 308, and an inner curved lateral surface 310. Likewise, the second rail 312 has a substantially flat top surface 314, an outer curved lateral surface 318 and an inner curved lateral surface 316. The first rail 304 has a supporting member 305 that is oriented substantially perpendicular to its substantially flat top surface 306. The second rail 312 also has a supporting member 311 that is oriented substantially perpendicular to its substantially flat top surface 314. The unitary body 320 has a first substantially flat upper surface 322, a second substantially flat upper surface 324, and a third substantially flat upper surface 326. The inner curved lateral surface 310 of the first rail 304 transitions into the first substantially flat upper surface of the unitary body 320, and the inner curved lateral surface 316 of the second rail 312 transitions into the third substantially flat upper surface of the unitary body 320. The first substantially flat upper surface 322 transitions into the second substantially flat upper surface 324 via a first step 328. The third substantially flat upper surface 326 transitions into the second substantially flat upper surface 324 via a second step 330. Together, the inner curved lateral surfaces 310 and 316 of the rails, and the first and third substantially flat upper surfaces 322 and 326 define a main channel 332. The second substantially flat upper surface 324 and the first and second steps 324 and 330 define a secondary channel 334 (FIG. 12). FIG. 13 shows the carrier of FIGS. 3-5 holding a plurality of CD/DVD sleeves and attached to the rail system.

In an embodiment of the invention, the carrier may be configured to fit onto the rail system. An example is shown in FIGS. 14-17, in which a variation of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 & 2 is shown. In this variation, channels 16 are substantially rectangular in shape. The carrier 10 includes ribs 50, which are disposed on each side each channel 16. Engagement is achieved by snap-fitting the ribs 50 of the carrier onto a rail (shown in FIG. 14), which itself has ribs 51. Alternatively, if the rail does not have the ribs 51, the ribs 50 could be interference or “squeeze” fit onto the side of the rail.

Another rail system that may be used in an embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to FIGS. 18 & 19. Many of the elements of this embodiment are the same as those of the embodiment of FIGS. 11-13 and are similarly numbered. However, in the rail system depicted in FIGS. 18 & 19, the unitary body 320 does not have any supporting members. Also, the inner curved lateral surfaces 310 and 316 do not transition into any portion of the unitary body 320. Instead, the supporting member 305 of the first rail 304 transitions at a substantially right angle into the first substantially flat upper surface 322 of the unitary body 320. Similarly, the supporting member 311 of the second rail 312 transitions at a substantially right angle into the third substantially flat upper surface 326 of the unitary body 320.

Referring to FIGS. 20-22, 23a and 23b, yet another embodiment of the carrier will now be described. In this embodiment, the carrier is adapted to fit on the rail system described above with reference to FIGS. 18 & 19. This embodiment has many of the same features as the embodiments depicted and described with respect to FIGS. 3-5 and 7 as indicated by the repetition of some of the reference numbers. Some distinct features of this embodiment are as follows. The first side panel 108 has a first tongue 204 (FIG. 20) proximate to the first cutout 150, and a second tongue 206 proximate to the second cutout 154. Similarly, the second side panel 110 has a first tongue 208 (FIG. 21) proximate to the first cutout 158, and a second tongue 210 proximate to the second cutout 162. Between the first and second tongues 204 and 206 of the first side panel 108 is a generally U-shaped edge 205 (FIG. 20) that defines a shallow cutout 211. Between the first and second tongues 208 and 210 (FIG. 21) of the second side panel 110 is a generally U-shaped edge 203 that defines a shallow cutout 212. The base is split into a first section 214 and a second section 216 (FIG. 20). The first section 214 and the second section 216 have respective slots 213 and 217. Between the first and second sections 214 and 216 of the base is an opening 215. The shallow cutouts 211, 212, and the opening 215 in the base together define a channel 218 (FIG. 22, 23a).

Referring to FIG. 20, the first section 214 of the carrier base and the first side panel 108 are connected proximate to the first tongue 204. The first section 214 of the base and the second side panel 110 are connected proximate to the first tongue 208. The second section 216 of the base and the first side panel 108 are connected proximate to the second tongue 206. The second section 216 of the base and the second side panel 110 are connected proximate to the second tongue 210 (FIG. 21). The first section 214 of the base has a tongue 220 (FIG. 23a) that extends into the opening 215 of the base. Similarly, the second section 216 of the base has a tongue 222 that extends into the opening 215 of the base. As shown more particularly in FIGS. 23a and 23b, the carrier can be attached to the rail system such that the first and second tongues 204 and 206 of the first side panel 108 extend into the first and second channels 352 and 354 of the rail system, the first tongue 220 of the base of the carrier engages the first lip 346 of the rail system, and the second tongue 222 of the base of the carrier engages the second lip 350 of the rail system. The engagement between the tongues of the base of the carrier and the first and second lips of the rail system is a snap-fit. In other embodiments, the fit may be a squeeze-fit or an interference fit, or any other type of engagement known in the art.

In various embodiments of the invention, multiple carriers can be attached to a single storage system. An example is shown in FIG. 24, in which a number of carriers 10 are attached to the plate 40 (from FIG. 10), such that the carriers are substantially held onto the plate 40. The plate 40 can then be used in a storage system. For example, FIG. 25 shows a storage system for use in a typical office filing drawer. Two adapter plates 42 (only one shown) are attached to the ends of the mounting plate 40. The adapter plates are constructed with a hook or hooks 44 on their top edges such that the storage system can be suspended from the side rails of a suspension drawer while allowing the storage system to be readily removed. The storage system can also be placed into an archiving box (not shown). FIG. 25 shows an alternative implementation of the mounting plate 40. In this implementation, the mounting plate 40 has a hump-back shape. The ribs 41 are engaged with the channels 16 on the underside of the carriers. Feet 43 are connected to the ends of the mounting plate 40. It is also contemplated that, along with supporting multiple carriers, the plate 40 will, at the same time, support standalone sleeves, such as DVD or CD sleeves, directly on the ribs or on rails. To be supported directly on the ribs or rails, a standalone sleeve would preferably have cutouts on its edge whose geometry corresponded to the geometry of the ribs or rails. The standalone sleeve and the sleeves held within the carriers may be of identical construction or they may be different from one another. In summary, substantially flat items such as sleeves may be engaged with the carrier. The carrier may be contained in a wallet for transportation or mounted on a plate for transportation or storage. The plate may stand on a surface, be suspended in a drawer or placed into an archiving system. Multiple carriers may also be serially connected one to another.

Referring to FIGS. 26 & 27, another embodiment of the carrier will now be described. This embodiment has many of the same features as the embodiments depicted and described with respect to FIGS. 3-5 and 7, as indicated by the repetition of some of the reference numbers. Some distinct features of the fourth embodiment are as follows. The body 102 of the carrier 100 is divided into sections by live hinges, so that it can be opened up and laid relatively flat (as shown in FIG. 25) and can be deployed into a configuration that resembles the embodiments of FIGS. 3-5 and 7. The first side panel 108 and the base 112 are joined together by a first live hinge 224, while the second side panel and the base 112 are joined together by a second live hinge 226. Each of the first and second attachment members 104 and 106 is cylindrical in shape. The embodiment of FIGS. 25 & 26 can be employed in conjunction with any of the mounting or rail systems described herein. Obviously, the base 112 and side panels 108 and 110 should have the appropriate configurations (cutouts, channels, protrusions, tongues, ribs, etc.) to fit onto the various mounting or rail systems.

It can be seen from the foregoing that a new and useful method and system for storing audio, video or computer data media has been described. While this invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.