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Email ManagementWorkshop A product of the Managing the Digital University Desktop Project http://www.ils.unc.edu/digitaldesktop/
Are email messages records? • At UNC, all email messages are considered public records, except personal email • (NCGS 132-1: All documentary material, regardless of format, made or received in connection with university business) • At Duke, all email messages are considered university records, except personal email
When is an email a record? Messages with continuing value: • approve or authorize actions or expenditures; • are formal communications between staff, such as correspondence or memoranda relating to official business; • signify a policy change or development; • create a precedent, such as messages issuing instructions or advice; • relate to the substantive business of the work unit or University; • involve negotiations on behalf of the University; • have value for other people or the work unit as a whole.
What to do with emails that are records • Do they have continuing value? Retain in paper or electronic format until no longer administratively useful, then either destroy or transfer to University Archives according to records schedule. • Would they pose a risk to the University if they could not be accessed? Do not delete unless retained in acceptable paper format. For records management info, at UNC-CH call 962-6402 or email email@example.com. At Duke call 684-6181.
Print? • Send to Archives according to your office’s records retention schedules. Keep along with other records in a specific records series. Electronic? • Maintain in a format in which you can potentially transfer to the Archives when appropriate University policies have been established. Native file formats accessible only as long as email application supported. Open format increases chances of access in the future.
What about emails that are not records? Delete and purge messages with short-term value, such as: • News bulletins, circulars, meeting notices, copies of documents, drafts • Those created solely as part of preparation for other records • Personal messages and announcements not work related • Junk mail
Dealing with Spam • Delete spam or junk mail as quickly as possible • University has spam filters • Contact information technology staff in your department for information on how to set spam filters
Tips for thwarting viruses: • Don’t open an email attachment from someone you don’t know. • If you are unsure of an attachment, call your Systems staff – they can try to determine if it’s legitimate. • Banks, credit card companies, and financial businesses will NEVER ask for personal information in an email. Don’t be fooled by official-looking email. • Don’t be fooled by official-looking messages from University departments, particularly ITS Messaging Services, which threaten to suspend your account(s). • Don’t click on that ‘unsubscribe’ link in a spam email message – it only tells the spammer you’re still there.
Email is managed by its content, not its format.
Handout: Keep or delete? • Subject: Can you meet me for lunch? • Subject: Memo re new travel policy • Subject: Curriculum Committee meeting minutes • Subject: New policy on vacation leave • Subject: Listserv messages 7/10/05 • Subject: Instructions for filling out travel form • Subject: Pick up some bread for supper? • Subject: Sorry I missed class this week • Subject: Information for annual report • Subject: Negotiations with a records storage company
Why do you need to keep certain emails? • Document day-to-day office operations • Preserve the history of your department • Document business decisions and discussions • Provide access during official actions or litigation
Why do you need to delete certain emails? • Ensure privacy and security by maintaining in one place • If committee records, primary keeper is committee chair • Certain emails can increase risk for the University if kept longer than required • Help conserve University resources by using less server space
What email should you keep? • Does it have continuing or permanent value?If yes, keep and maintain according to records retention schedule. If no, delete and purge once its value ends. • Who else received this message? Only primary keeper is responsible for maintaining record copy. • Is it a work in progress (draft)? In most cases, final version is sufficient for long-term retention.
What email should you delete? • Personal messages -Minimal and retained only as long as necessary • Messages with short-term value-Delete and purge once their purpose has concluded. Includes: messages re: scheduling of meetings, day to day office communications, drafts, class emails that may be important for the semester, but unnecessary once the semester ends • Messages distributed to a number of staff for information only –Includes:news bulletins, listserv messages, “informational” emails
What to do with attachments? If email and attachment have continuing value: • Save the email and attachment together in original format within the context of your email software on the email server • Save the attachment in another location (hard drive or network space) • Print the email and attachment and save them in paper format
Where should you store email? • University email server (Advantages – accessed from multiple locations through webmail, more secure, backed up regularly. Disadvantages – may run out of allotted space) • Local machine (Advantages – avoid filling up allotted server space. Disadvantages – may not be backed up regularly, not available through webmail) • Disks or cds (Advantages – good for inactive or infrequently accessed messages. Disadvantages – messages more difficult to locate, media may degrade or become obsolete)
A word about formats • Print – Can be sent to Archives according to records retention schedule. Print out important emails and keep along with other records in a specific records series. • Electronic – Must be maintained in a format in which you can potentially transfer to Archives when appropriate University policies have been established. If saved in native file formats, accessible only as long as email application supported. If saved in open format, such as ASCII text, better chance for access/preservation in future, but lose original formatting.
A word about printing Print version must include: • Addresses – not names of distribution lists – of specific recipients (the “To:”) • Including addresses in “cc:” and “bcc:” fields • Addresses of the sender (the “From:”) • The subject line • The body of the email message • All attachments • The date and time the message was sent and/or received For directions on how to turn on full header info, consult your IT staff.
How should you organize your email? 1)No filing strategy: Creating no folders, keeping all emails in inbox Advantages: Requires little effort, email owner can locate certain messages by using search engine or remembering when specific email received. Threading feature can also be used, if available. Disadvantages: Over time, more difficult to recall when certain emails received, more difficult to retrieve w/out subject folders. May be difficult for your successor, colleagues, or an archivist to make sense of emails in the future. May keep more emails than you need to.
Organizing email (cont.) • Filing system: Simple filing scheme based on topical areas. Can incorporate your office’s records retention and disposition schedule. Advantages: Provides complete view of all emails on a particular topic, provides context for a set of messages, allows for quick retrieval, allows others to make sense of your emails, reduces clutter in inbox Disadvantages: Takes time and discipline to maintain
Organizing email (cont.) 3)Combination of filing system and usage of inbox • Delete emails you don’t need to keep on a daily basis • File emails you know you want to keep and don’t have to follow up on • Emails left in your inbox should be emails you need to act upon or on which you need resolution
Email Folder Structures • Geographic area or location – Example: Travel Reports - England • Numbers or symbols – Example: NSF-001 • Dates – Example: March 2004 • Subjects – Example: Budgets, Courses/Elem Chinese • Sender – Example: John Smith • Records series – Example: Annual Reports
Handout: Filing Practice Folder NamesEmail Subjects Exams Spring 2005 Memo from Dean Lewis Annual Reports 2000-2005 LIS 690 Exam NSF Grants Travel form, Toronto trip Travel reports – Canada NSF_1234.567c2 Correspondence with Dean Annual report attached
Access and Security Policies concerning email privacy Duke:http://www.oit.duke.edu/oit/policy/ITACPolicy.html UNC:http://help.unc.edu/?id=1677 Emails that mix business and personal messages are considered public records! Who can view your email? Who “owns” your email?
Confidentiality Issues Policies? Safeguards? Never send Social Security or credit card numbers in an email! Faculty/student communications At Duke:http://www.registrar.duke/registrar/studentpages/student/ferpa.htm At UNC: http://regweb.oit.unc.edu/resources/index.php
Top 10 Tips for Email Use 10. Be careful when opening email from an unknown sender. The message could be spam or could contain a virus. 9. Use subject lines that are indicative of the content of your message and that the person who receives the email can use to retrieve it. 8. Use university-sponsored email systems sparingly to send or receive personal email. Use discretion when mixing personal and work-related messages.
Top 10 Tips (cont.) 7. Take time to compose a thoughtful response before sending an email. Proofread your email for spelling errors, grammar, and punctuation before sending it. 6. When sensitive issues need to be discussed, face-to-face conversation or a telephone call may be a better communication choice than email. Remember that the security of your email cannot be ensured. 5. Do not put anything in an email message that you would not want to see printed in tomorrow’s newspaper or displayed on a bulletin board.
Top 10 Tips (cont.) 4. Manage email based on its content, not space quotas. Retain and dispose of email messages according to established records retention guidelines. 3. Everyone receives email that may pose personal or institutional risks. These emails should be removed from the email system as soon as possible and according to law. 2. For most people, much of the email that they receive is not too important, but everyone receives a small percentage that is. You should take special care with these important emails to make sure that they are secure, retrievable, and preserved over time.
Top 10 Tips (cont.) 1. Email does not manage itself. Be a proactive manager of your inbox and manage your messages in a way that is most effective for you. This may involve filing significant messages or a combination of filing in folders and using the inbox to store messages.
A Final Thought “Making duplicate copies and computer printouts of things no one wanted even one of in the first place is giving America a new sense of purpose.” -- Andy Rooney
Questions? For more information: http://www.ils.unc.edu/digitaldesktop/