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Washington State Archives. Email Management “What should I be doing?”. Presented by: Leslie Koziara, Electronic Records Consultant February 26, 2010. Have a game plan Identify what you need to keep How to organize emails How to disposition emails. Overview.

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Washington State Archives

Email Management

“What should I be doing?”

Presented by:

Leslie Koziara, Electronic Records Consultant

February 26, 2010

Have a game plan

Identify what you need to keep

How to organize emails

How to disposition emails

As public employees, everyone needs to have a level of responsibility for the public records they create and use

Records Management is a team sport!

have a game plan
Have a game plan
  • Build your team
    • Coaches (records officer and managers)
    • Players (assign roles and responsibilities)
      • Quarterbacks = records coordinators
      • Defense/offensive players = end users
      • Special teams = IT and legal
like a pro
Like a pro
  • Game Strategy
    • Policies, procedures and standards to get the game underway
  • Develop your plays
    • Identify, organize and disposition emails
end game
End game

Successful organization and control is a

win–win situation

  • Agency benefits in lower costs and more efficient operations
  • Employees benefit with better access and increased productivity
  • Public benefits with transparency and prompt responses to any requests
email retention in a nutshell
Retain all public records for the minimum retention period as listed on the approved Records Retention Schedule

Once retention is met :

Destroy if not an archival or permanent series

If permanent, take appropriate action to retain

Transfer to Washington State Archives all archival records

Email Retention in a Nutshell...
why not just keep it all
There are increased costs when you keep it all:

Discovery and legal fees

Administration/staff for maintenance

Migration or recopying

Disaster recovery/restoration

Energy costs

Think needle in a haystack:

Less hay, easier to find the needle

Why not just keep it all?
re educate on email usage
Re-educate on email usage
  • Employ meaningful subject lines
  • Keep on topic, no digressing
  • Reiterate appropriate use
  • Keep only what you need to keep
cautionary notes
Cautionary notes
  • If you are keeping only the last email in a string, just be aware:
    • In a court of law, will the last one suffice as evidence of the entire string?
    • Any modifications to the string done prior to that last one?
    • How do you know?
just so you know there is a difference
Email Archiving

Generally just “storage” rather than “records management”

Typically lacks coherent filing structure

Generally no records retention functionality included

Just so you know…there is a difference
a winning strategy for emails
A winning strategy for emails
  • Identify
  • Organize
  • Disposition

Using approved records retention schedules will help you:

  • Identify records you need to keep
  • Identify records you can get rid of
  • Identify records needing additional attention
      • Essential
      • Archival
more identification
More identification
  • How do you know what you’ve got?
    • Do an inventory
    • An inventory will also help you identify not only essential and archival records but also identify records that may be exempt or confidential
don t agonize organize use your approved retention schedules
Don’t agonize, organize! Use your approved retention schedules
                  • Schedules tell you what to do
                  • What records need to be kept – by series
  • Minimum required period of time to keep them
  • What to do once retention has been met
  • Any remarks or special instructions
Think electronic “file cabinets”

Desktops and servers are digital “file cabinets” and should be used as such

Just like traditional metal ones

create a game plan
Create a game plan
  • Create a “file plan” or “file structure”
  • Link to retention schedules
  • Pre-determined file folders provide consistency, centralization and organization
  • Mirror the plan throughout – use sameplan or structure for paper, email, desktop, network drives and servers
set up the structure
Can be as individual “drawers” – working files set up in folders in email application

Can be work group or section “file drawers” with folders set up on shared drive or server used by group

Can be “central files” or “records center” – “file drawers” in a central repository for longer retention

Set up the structure
organizing emails within email application how it works
Individual users move e-mails into pre-determined folders that match those on server or shared drive

Good to set up as “working files”, or for records with no retention value

Recommend “records with retention value” be retained on drives or servers

Organizing emails – within email applicationHow it works
next level
Next level

Additional folders can be set up to further define the content – easy to locate and search, still all under DAN # GS 22005

Mirror this structure on shared drive or server for records with retention value

Be diligent with cleaning out records with no retention value in these “working files” and save primary copies to shared drive

using email application folders
Using email application folders


  • Recommended use is for short-term or temporary retention
  • Mirror folders you set up on network server or shared drive
  • Match up to retention schedules
  • Use shared drive/server for records with longer retention
organizing in shared drive or network server how it works
Designated shared drive or server is used as centralized “file cabinet” or repository

Users save their emails into pre-determined folders in specific “drawers”

Users can access in a centralized location

Generally no active retention or disposition applied, but can set up system administrators to track files

Organizing in shared drive or network serverHow it works
it makes good sense
Centralization makes good sense

One place, one folder, one retention

In event of staff turnover, other “life happens” scenarios, more accessibility

Increased search capability for discovery and disclosure purposes

Can apply consistent retention and disposition to stored records, can appoint system administrator to manage and track,

It makes good sense
can look like this
Can look like this

Conferences & Seminars


Create file “drawers” and create appropriate folders in a server or shared drive “electronic file cabinet”

Marry up with appropriate retention schedules and mirror pre-set email folders

next click
Next click

Create appropriate file “drawers” and create the folders as necessary in which to “file” your information – all of these are still GS 22005

saved as email
“Saved As” email

Email regarding meeting room contract

By using the .msg extension, it can saves record copy

emails electronically and preserve the metadata as well – also will save attachments

Using classifications and naming conventions make it easier to search and locate the information


BBy using the .msg extention, you are able to save emails with all the other formats together in one folder, under one record series, under one retention and manage it as a whole

One place, one folder, one retention

Get rid of the silos!

another example
Another example

Can add other records series as needed

another example34
Another example

Additional file folders can be created

as necessary under each record series

Additional records series under a category

can be added

helpful hints
Helpful hints
  • Use existing retention schedules!
  • Consult with users, enlist their input
  • Work on keeping file names short and simple, yet make sense to users
  • Keep it under 255 characters & spaces, otherwise may have problems with access and retrieval
state unique example
State unique example

This series is ARCHIVAL - 9 year retention for agency, then transfer to archives

Can identify certain files as exempt or other special handling


This series only has a 3 year retention, so can get rid of these files sooner

  • This is an essential record and should have additional back up. It also has a long term retention

This is a PERMANENT, ESSENTIAL and POTENTIALLY ARCHIVAL series and should noted and handled accordingly


transfer to digital archives
Transfer to Digital Archives
  • Identify archival records according to approved records retention schedules
  • Contact Digital Archives for consultation and development of Transfer Agreements (TA) and Transfer Information Plan (TIP)

Debbie Bahn, Lead Archivist

509-235-7500 ext 207

take a deep breath
Take a deep breath
  • No magic one-size-fits all solution
  • Fixing it will not happen overnight
  • Acceptance will take time
  • It can be done without investing in additional technology

You can do it!!

you are not alone
For advice and assistance:

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You Are Not Alone

Thank You!

Washington State Archives:

Partners in preservation and access