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Email and Records Management Spring 2013
Transcript of Email and Records Management Spring 2013
What do records have to do with email?
How can I better manage my own account?
How do I save the important e-mails?
The most-common, most-used record type at UWM.
(Including those campus updates and weekly announcements)
What you do with your email for non-work purposes is your business...*
*To a certain extent.
90% of all new documents being created today are e-mails.
(Of course, most of these are not records.)
Weekly announcements... and SPAM
Forwards and CCs
Records law doesn't care about your personal life.*
If you don't respond, it's not your record.
E-mails having to do with your duties as a UW employee.
Brad Houston, UWM Records Officer
This presentation available at: http://prezi.com/jz0cc6zcjevy/email-and-records-management-spring-2013/
(...but you are responsible for the ones that are!)
E-mail is itself a record!
E-mail is described as a form of "business communication" by the WI Public Records Board.
E-mail with little or no enduring value.
Examples: scheduling meetings; emails sent with minor edits
Should be destroyed 7 days after creation/receipt.
Project-related email, or emails with other administrative value
Examples: emails with comments on a report; emails with students re: grades
Should be retained for 6 months, then destroyed.
Email of ongoing interest; usually documents a decision or explains a policy
Examples: discussion of tuition increases; responding to student protests
Should be kept indefinitely-- but work with an archivist to identify
(i.e. if you digitize something you don't need the paper copy anymore, assuming you've done it right)
In general, for e-mail correspondence belonging to a different record series, the other series takes precedence.
Examples: Scholarship notification e-mails; personnel-related e-mails
Figure out which emails are "important".
This chart shows one method, but it is by no means the only one.
Reasons to keep e-mail:
Example: If you discuss grades over email, you need to keep those under FERPA for at least a year.
(This is , by the way, a good reason not to discuss grades over E-mail)
Legal requirements to hold onto an email for some period of time.
Litigation Holds: you may not destroy any records related to the hold until it is lifted.
(Legal Affairs or the Public Records Custodian will inform you of these.)
Example: correspondence on a project not yet completed
You have some ongoing operational need to keep this email.
If you haven't referred to the e-mail chain in 6 months, you can probably archive or delete it.
You know or suspect that your email will have research or reference value.
Example: Your correspondence re: the Act 10 protests on campus
If in doubt, ask an archivist for help appraising the 'good stuff.'
Guidelines to snap-judging 'historical' emails
In GENERAL, the higher up the hierarchy of either you or your correspondent, the more likely the email will be worth keeping.
Is your correspondence regarding a major on-campus event or issue? The Budget Repair Bill is a good example of this.
If your email sets, explains, or interprets policy, it's probably archival
Step 2: Get the files to the Archives!
We can accept files on CD, Flash Drive, Hard Disk, or via PantherFile sharing.
Normal rules re: Transfer Forms still apply.
Make your emails themselves info-rich
Use Descriptive Subjects.
Good: "Project XYZ 4/11 Parameters"
Bad: "Project Info"
Keep reply chains in the email body.
Why? It lets you (and others) follow the conversation.
(Truncation of especially long emails may be appropriate... keep the headers if possible, though.)
Include a Signature Block.
This helps with the "paper" trail later.
Use classification tools.
Most email clients (including Outlook) have a tagging function to group similar emails together.
Only use about 8 tags at most for ease of memory, upkeep
(If an email doesn't fit into a tag, you need to create broader tags.)
Tag emails AS THEY ARE CREATED.
Consider collaboration with your coworkers
Office-wide categories allow those categories to work more consistently.
Generally allows for more specificity, easier searches than tagging.
(...But there's usually also more work involved.)
Use a filing scheme that makes sense for you:
Subject-based? Good for reference
Chronological:? Good for activity tracking
Retention-based? "Fire and forget" for email retention; needs RRDAs to be in place
Use your client's filtering tools!
Subject terms? Sender? Date sent?
PARTIALLY automates filing-- you'll still have to move the odd stuff around
Foldering also lets you QUICKLY identify and segregate personal or important emails.
An inconsistent filing or classifying system is arguably worse than none at all.
UWM Records Management Email Guidelines
UW System Business Communications General Records Schedules
UWSA Desktop training: Business Communication
UITS Short Courses: E-mail, calendar, and file storage
*Usually. See, e.g. the Open Records request for William Cronon's emails, though notably most of his personal emails were not disclosed.
Keep your inbox manageable.
"Inbox Zero" is probably a pipe dream...* "Inbox Low" is not
"Touch Once" method: file or delete your email IMMEDIATELY after reading.
Keep emails requiring quick followthrough in the inbox, as needed
DON'T keep emails in your box as a "to-do" list
Many clients have a "tasks" tab... use it!
Get a handle on your BACN.*
*BACN: "Email you want, but not right now"
Notifications and/or confirmations
Filters were BORN to handle BACN.
Select listserv name or sender
Filter them directly to dedicated folder
Keep BACN out of your inbox!
The upshot of this: you should be maintaining and disposing of e-mail the same way you do with paper files.
SPAM/BACN ("email you want, but not right now")
Campus announcements and other mass-recipient e-mail
Correspondence you don't directly need for your job
The good news: *most* e-mails are not records.
n.b. Don't abuse this exception-- personal e-mail may not be a record, but it may still be discoverable.
The other upshot: e-mail can potentially be discovered via public records requests!
Well, then what *is* an e-mail record?
E-mail records fall into a few basic records series:
(because of FERPA, try to avoid this last one)
What are my e-mail records responsibilities?
Follow all appropriate retention and disposition periods for record e-mails.
Ensure that all business-critical emails have a clearly defined official records holder.
Keep official university business out of your personal account (and vice-versa).
In most (not all!) cases, this is the author of the e-mail in question.
(That said, maintaining reply strings helps provide context to the conversation.)
Get inactive emails out of your inbox!
Why? A couple of reasons:
To save space in your Email Account
To make the emails easier to preserve
(This can get messy.)
From an IMAP client
Use this method if you want more immediate access/searchability for your inactive emails.
1) Set up your IMAP Client (usually Thunderbird or Outlook).
2)To save individual messages:
a) Open the email, then File > Save As. OR
b) Configure your "Archive" folder to save to your local folders, then Archive rather than delete important messages.
3) To save whole folders, you'll probably want an add-on:
a) Thunderbird has a whole library at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/ (search for "archive" or "export").
b) Outlook lets you "Auto-archive" folders, but make sure you're sending it to a folder on your computer.
(I like ImportExportTool for this.)
From an Email Archives Program
Use this method to export and improve searchability for your entire e-mail account.
There are many of these programs, but most have a fee/subscription involved.
MailStore Home is one of the programs that are free for personal use, and easy to use:
1) Select "Archive E-mail" from left menu and enter your email address at the prompt.
2) Follow the instructions on-screen. (You may need the settings for connection to IMAP clients.)
3) Select your newly-created profile and click "run".
Bonus: MailStore can also search attachments full-text for that document you need.
(This is the program I use for archiving my own email.)
Send your email to the archives!
Step 1: Put it in a form we can "understand."
PantherLink gzip created from export
*.eml or *.txt files saved to your local system (individual emails)
(The "export" tab in MailStore allows you to save entire folders this way.)
MBOX files for large folders/entire accounts
ImportExportTools can be configured to create these.
Step 2: Fill out the Archives Transfer Form
We still need some documentation that you've sent us archival materials!
Step 3: Send it on over!
PantherFile: Send a link to the files for download or a ticket for temporary access.
(Remember to delete and empty trash after you get acknowledgment from Archives Staff!)
"Sneakernet": Send it on physical media (CD-R, DVD-R, Flash Drive, etc.)
(Long-term viability of the media is less important here, because we're going to move it onto network storage.)
Cloud Services Transfer? (Box, Dropbox, etc.)
*Maybe*-- but only if there is no sensitive information in the emails.
Non-UWM cloud services are not recommended for storing or transmitting University records.
To set up filters, either right-click on a message including your criteria or select from the preferences menu.
And remember: your sent folder is taking up space too, so check it periodically as well.
We received this account as a PDF portfolio! Some versions of Outlook allow you to export this way.
The Least To Take Away
Some emails are records; most are not
Most record email can (and should!) be destroyed after no more than 6 months
Tags, folders, and automatic filters can help you manage your inbox
External IMAP or email archiving software can help you manage inactive emails
Exporting email folders to local storage can allow you to reduce your quota
And incidentally helps prepare your email for archiving...