E-Mail Management


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Presentation on Records Management and E-mail, originally presented at UWM September 10, 2008

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E-Mail Management

  1. 1. Identifying, Organizing, and Preserving E-mail records
  2. 2. <ul><li>90% of all new records created electronically </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail comprises majority of new e-records </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail records subject to same laws and regulations as paper records </li></ul><ul><li>NOT ALL E-MAIL IS A RECORD! </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>There’s so much of it! </li></ul><ul><li>Used for business AND personal reasons </li></ul><ul><li>Used for ephemeral or informal purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Random deletion creates legal liability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: White House emails; Arthur Andersen </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keeping all email maintains legal liability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Enron; Microsoft; Bear Stearns </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Must be discoverable (litigation, open records, etc.) </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Volume of email received by most people becomes unmanageable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Searching difficulty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accidental deletion of important email </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exceeded quotas for inboxes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As a State employee, you are responsible for the contents of your inbox! </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Identify e-mail records and non-records </li></ul><ul><li>Utilize PantherLink and other tools to create and organize e-mails </li></ul><ul><li>Determine appropriate retention and disposition of record e-mails </li></ul><ul><li>Explore strategies for long-term e-mail preservation </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Records : Recorded information, in any format, that allows an office to conduct business </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does NOT include unofficial records: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Duplicate Copies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drafts and Informal Notes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Routing Slips </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Correspondence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Does this document help me perform the duties in my job description?” </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><ul><li>Does your file: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Support or document a transaction? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Document the formulation or execution of a policy, interpretation of a policy, or change of policy? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Document Actions taken in response to an inquiry? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relate to the substantive business of your office or work unit? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide information regarding the historical development of UWM programs or people? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If “yes” to any of the above, it is a record! </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>E-mail to contractor clarifying terms: Record! </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail from department head to staff giving committee assignments: Record! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sender must retain as record; recipient(s) may delete as appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-mail asking for draft comments: Non-Record! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If attachment is not record, neither is ‘routing’ email </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>The official record, for business and legal purposes, of a business transaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you take any action on a document, that document becomes YOUR record, even if other copies are maintained elsewhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EXCEPTION: Convenience copies may be discarded freely </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>If you create a document as part of your everyday work, you are the record holder </li></ul><ul><li>If you manage or lead a committee, project, or program, you are the record holder </li></ul><ul><li>If you are holding a received record for reference, you are NOT the record holder </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sender usually record holder in these cases </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>Two Rules of Thumb: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Try not to send personal e-mails from your university account; if you do, though, keep them separate from your work e-mails. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Never send work-related e-mails from personal e-mail accounts! </li></ul><ul><li>Do not put anything in an email that you would not want made public via litigation! </li></ul>
  12. 15. <ul><li>Use descriptive subjects! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bad: “Project Info” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good: “Project XYZ 9/08 Parameters” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consider your audience! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you need that cc: recipient? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Include signature block! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assists with ‘paper trail’ </li></ul></ul>
  13. 16. <ul><li>Benefits of ‘tagging’ and ‘folksonomy’ </li></ul><ul><li>Develop office-wide categories to describe documents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Working with other users on this allows categories to work on broader scale, more consistently </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From there….? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tag/Categorize documents as they are created </li></ul>
  14. 18. <ul><li>Keep all emails in your inbox </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages: Easy; computer-aided searching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages: Inbox clutter, manual searching </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Foldering Scheme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages: retain context; manual searching; reduces inbox clutter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disadvantages: Large implementation and maintenance requirement </li></ul></ul>
  15. 19. <ul><li>Delete non-record email as needed </li></ul><ul><li>Manually file emails for reference/retention, OR set up filters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Filter by sender, subject line, recipient, etc. partially automates filing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leave emails in inbox that require quick follow-through </li></ul><ul><ul><li>File appropriately once responded to </li></ul></ul>
  16. 21. <ul><li>Retention Schedule-based (“Big Bins”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good for dealing with multiple series; ‘fire and forget’ for retention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low organizational control; bad for day-to-day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Chronologically </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good for activity tracking, financial recs, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Useful for keeping track of disposition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Subject </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good for administrative/reference files </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most versatile, requires most vigilance </li></ul></ul>
  17. 22. <ul><li>Combining one or more of the filing archetypes to fulfill reference/retention needs </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reference Correspondence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FY2006 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>November </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Smith, A </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Smith, K </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 23. <ul><li>Be Consistent!!!! </li></ul>
  19. 25. <ul><li>To document the operations of your office </li></ul><ul><li>To document important programmatic decisions </li></ul><ul><li>To preserve the history of your office and UWM </li></ul><ul><li>To provide legal protection for your office </li></ul><ul><li>To comply with Wisconsin state law! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wis. Stats. 16.61; Wis. Stats. 36.19 </li></ul></ul>
  20. 26. <ul><li>To use less server space </li></ul><ul><li>To reduce the clutter in your inbox </li></ul><ul><li>To avoid confusion about which file is the record copy </li></ul><ul><li>To provide legal protection for your office </li></ul>
  21. 27. <ul><li>Records Retention and Disposition Authority (RRDA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Retention period (minimum) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Final Disposition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Record Series description </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When followed, RRDAs, or Records Schedules, simplify decision-making process on keeping/destroying records </li></ul><ul><li>Required by state law! </li></ul>
  22. 29. <ul><li>Non-record emails (drafts, notes, etc.) may be deleted immediately </li></ul><ul><li>Official Records may not be destroyed without a schedule </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If an e-mail would be part of a series as a letter, use that series’ retention schedule! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contact Records Officer to arrange for e-records survey and scheduling </li></ul>
  23. 30. <ul><li>Approved by the Public Records Board in August 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Apply to all forms of electronic communication, NOT just email </li></ul><ul><li>Provide guidance for correspondence existing outside of established record series </li></ul><ul><li>DOES NOT supersede existing RRDAs </li></ul>
  24. 31. <ul><li>Normal communication of transaction of business </li></ul><ul><li>No historical value; varying administrative value </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples: decision-making correspondence; response to inquiries for information; comments on reports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Retain : Six months and destroy </li></ul>
  25. 33. <ul><li>Communication with little value beyond immediate response </li></ul><ul><li>No historical value; minimal administrative value </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples: Setting time for appointment; campus-wide mail received; “ready-reference” requests (hours, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Retain : Seven days and destroy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why even this long? Liability reasons </li></ul></ul>
  26. 35. <ul><li>Not strictly covered by GRS, but most important category of emails </li></ul><ul><li>Set policy, provide evidence of transactions, explain decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Consult UWM Archives re: what constitutes “historical value” </li></ul><ul><li>Retain : As needed for admin. value, then transfer to Archives </li></ul>
  27. 37. <ul><li>Applied by official in advance of lawsuit potential </li></ul><ul><li>If a litigation hold is placed on a record series or email group, no records from that series may be destroyed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supersedes all existing records schedules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Records outside scope of hold follow normal disposition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Also applies to Open Records Requests </li></ul><ul><li>Contact Records Management or Legal Affairs with questions </li></ul>
  28. 38. <ul><li>Set aside a little time each day/week as ‘purge time’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Purge day’ at end of FY or in slow times? </li></ul><ul><li>Set up date search for archiving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PantherLink can do this via “advanced search” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consider separate areas for “active” and “inactive” emails </li></ul><ul><li>When in doubt, hold on to it! </li></ul>
  29. 40. <ul><li>UWM Archives does not currently have a dedicated E-Records Repository </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A few ‘stop-gap’ solutions in motion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preservation problems: Medium </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CD-ROMs? Magnetic Disks? Server? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preservation problems: Data Format </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obsolescence? Proprietary Formats? </li></ul></ul>
  30. 41. <ul><li>Message : Is the content of the document adequately preserved? </li></ul><ul><li>Media : Is the storage medium durable enough to retain its integrity over time? </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata : Is there enough supplementary info to contextualize the document? </li></ul><ul><li>If you lose even one of these components of an electronic record, you have not adequately preserved it . </li></ul>
  31. 42. <ul><li>Subject </li></ul><ul><li>Recipient(s) and sender </li></ul><ul><li>Date/Time sent/received </li></ul><ul><li>Attachments </li></ul><ul><li>Signature block </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail headers (usually hidden) </li></ul>
  32. 43. <ul><li>Avoids problems of obsolescence, mutability </li></ul><ul><li>Most office managers better equipped to deal with paper records </li></ul><ul><li>UWM Archives can accession paper records more easily </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantage : No searchability or reusability; onus to print on user; wasteful </li></ul>
  33. 44. <ul><li>Storing documents as created by applications </li></ul><ul><li>Easiest option for most users, particularly if well-organized </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantage : Affects e-mail quota; harms system performance; no backup puts data at risk </li></ul><ul><li>UWM Archives is NOT equipped to handle emails directly from PantherLink </li></ul>
  34. 45. <ul><li>Files converted to non-proprietary format (TIFF, XML, PDF/A) and stored remotely </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PantherFile, Dept. LAN, CD-R </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reduces/eliminates need for migration or emulation </li></ul><ul><li>Provides backup and transfer options </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantage : Conversion may be labor-intensive; onus on user for now </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PantherLink does this to a limited degree; Zimlet (hopefully) coming soon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>https://pantherlink.uwm.edu/home/YourEmail@uwm.edu/Folder%20Title.zip </li></ul></ul>
  35. 46. <ul><li>Why share? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal Collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Review Workflow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remote appraisal of records for retention </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sharing Options? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Viewer, Manager, Admin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Standard or Customized message </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember to accept if offered share! </li></ul></ul>
  36. 48. <ul><li>Archive your email on your computer or server space , not on the email server </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about it: do you check out books from the Post Office? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Convert archived email to neutral format </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TXT files are easiest; XML files preserve metadata better </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep attachments associated with email files </li></ul>
  37. 49. <ul><li>Include original message and reply inline when possible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows for complete documentary record </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only need to save last message in thread </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Include all relevant information if printing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Header information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Body Text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attachments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Signature blocks </li></ul></ul>
  38. 50. <ul><li>As much as is possible, consider record e-mails to be ‘normal’ university records, and treat them as such! </li></ul><ul><li>Stay on top of managing your emails, and they won’t spiral out of control! </li></ul>
  39. 51. <ul><li>UW System Policy on Use of University Information Technology Resources http://www.uwsa.edu/president/communications/publicat/itpolicy.htm </li></ul><ul><li>UITS Short Courses (The Email Management course is particularly useful) </li></ul><ul><li>https://www4.uwm.edu/uits/services/training/courses/index.cfm </li></ul>
  40. 52. <ul><li>State of Wisconsin E-Mail Policy and Guidance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://enterprise.state.wi.us/home/email/Default.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wisconsin DOA Electronic Records ( See especially the training links) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://enterprise.state.wi.us/home/erecords/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ADM Ch. 12: Electronic Records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/code/adm/adm012.pdf </li></ul></ul>
  41. 53. <ul><li>New Records Management Home Page! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://records.uwm.edu </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes links to UWM and UW-System General Records Schedules, webcasts, this presentation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or, Contact Records Management directly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] (Brad Houston) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>414-229-6979 </li></ul></ul>
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