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Best Practices For Email 2007
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Best Practices For Email 2007

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This is a presentation I developed in 2007 after attending a workshop discussing the Managing the Digital Desktop project at UNC Chapel Hill. My audience for the presentation was faculty and staff, …

This is a presentation I developed in 2007 after attending a workshop discussing the Managing the Digital Desktop project at UNC Chapel Hill. My audience for the presentation was faculty and staff, but since then I have incorporated information from this presentation into presentations given to students and external audiences.

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  • 1. E-Mail: Best Practices and Helpful Tips Leslie Knoblauch Records Management Archivist Catholic University Archives *containing information from the University of North Carolina digital desktop project
  • 2. You will learn:
    • What to keep and how to keep it
    • What to delete and why
    • How to set up a filing system
  • 3. What to Keep: Step 1
    • All files made or received pursuant to the transactions of University business or in the fulfillment of its educational, administrative, business or legal obligations are seen as university records
    • You are responsible for making sure that you keep and delete the appropriate records
    • Messages that document decision-making, or committee, faculty, or campus activities may have historical value and may warrant transferal to the archives in the future
  • 4. What to Keep: Step 2
    • Messages that document the day to day functions and provide evidence of decisions, actions, or policies should be retained
    • Some messages may be kept for short term, and then deleted once the issue is resolved or event as occurred
  • 5. Examples of messages to keep
    • Messages which approve expenditures or actions
    • Involve negotiations on behalf of the university
    • Messages issuing guidelines, recommendations, or policies
  • 6. Test Yourself: Based on the subject lines below, which messages should be saved
    • New Leave policy
    • Joke of the day
    • Salary Increase
    • Grant results
    • Staff meeting minutes
    • Course release approval
  • 7. Test yourself: Answers
    • New Leave policy – save, because it deals with policy
    • Joke of the day – not saved, no historical value
    • Salary Increase - save, because it regards university negotiations
    • Grant results – save, because it deals with research data
    • Staff meeting minutes - save, because it deals with official communication
    • Course release approval – save because it deals with approval or authorization
  • 8. What to Delete: Step 1
    • The appropriate deletion of email messages helps to conserve university resources by using less server space
  • 9. What to Delete: Step 2
    • Delete messages in your trash folder
    • Review your inbox for messages that can be deleted
    • Review your sent box for messages that can be deleted or moved to a different folder
    • Look through all of your folders and check for messages that you no longer need
  • 10. Examples of messages to delete:
    • Messages relating to personal plans
    • Messages with short term value
    • Messages distributed to a large number of staff for information only, such as news bulletin or listserv
  • 11. Test Yourself: Which messages should be deleted, based on subject line
    • Meeting Minutes from Chair
    • Opinions on job candidate
    • Medical issues regarding student, Jane Smith
    • Meet for lunch
  • 12. Test Yourself: Answers
    • Meeting Minutes from Chair – save ONLY if you are the chair
    • Opinions on job candidate – save ONLY if you are the chair of the search committee
    • Medical issues regarding student, Jane Smith – delete when no longer needed
    • Meet for lunch – delete, no long term value
  • 13. Filing Systems
    • Save all messages in your inbox
    • Save all messages in topical or subject based folders, no messages left in your inbox
    • Or, combine methods and store some messages in your inbox and some in topical folders. This is efficient, but requires daily deletion of unnecessary items, moving items to folders, and reviewing folders periodically to remove unneeded messages. Think of creating a topical or subject related filing system that mirrors the paper filing system used in your office.
  • 14. Helpful Tip #1:
    • As you read each message make a decision about what you want to do with it
      • Delete it
      • Act upon or respond
      • Forward
      • File
      • Leave in inbox for future action
  • 15. Helpful Tip #2
    • When creating topical or subject folder, pick folder names that accurately describe the items within those folders. Consider using subjects with dates, topics with years, and/or personal names as folder titles.
      • Try creating folder titles that can be interpreted by others, if they needed to, so avoid using acronyms or abbreviations when possible
      • Be as descriptive as possible when creating folder titles, using full names or combining subject with a date/year
  • 16. Helpful Tip #3:
    • Some people find that they can manage their inbox better if they set aside a specified time each day or week to review their messages, and delete and file them
  • 17. Helpful Tip #4
    • No matter what filing system you use, make sure that you file your messages in a system that will allow them to be easily retrieved when needed
  • 18. Helpful Tip #5
    • You may want to consider printing off messages dealing with, or including attachments regarding:
      • Final reports
      • Formal revisions to university guidelines or requirements
      • These messages would then be stored in file folders with relevant topical subject titles
  • 19. Test Yourself: In what folders would messages with these subjects be stored
    • Staff Meeting Minutes 10/4/07
    • Trip to New York
    • List of pubs for annual report
    • Final Planning Report
  • 20. Test Yourself: Answers
    • Staff Meeting Minutes 10/4/07 – this would go into a folder labeled Staff Meetings ‘07
    • Trip to New York – This would go into a folder labeled Travel Requests
    • List of pubs for annual report – This would go into a folder labeled Annual Report
    • Final Planning Report – This would go into a folder labeled Planning Committee
  • 21. Wrap Up
    • Messages documenting day to day functions and provide evidence of decisions, actions, or policies should be retained
    • Messages relating to personal plans, or having short term value, or messages distributed to a large number of staff for information only, such as news bulletin or listserv should be routinely deleted
    • Periodically review and delete messages in your inbox, sent folder, and topical/subject folders