DAVID – Archiving e-mail

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DAVID – Archiving e-mail

DAVID Archiving e-mail

Storing computer files within a logical folder structure is the most common method to group related

electronic records and to add some context to the e-mails. Most current e-mail programmes allow e-mails

to be stored in on-line and off-line folders. Sent and received e-mails are normally stored in the personal

mailbox on the mail server disk. This personal mailbox is placed in a secured folder on the mail server

disk with access limitations imposed by a user account and a password. Sent and received e-mails can be

relocated from this personal mailbox to on-line and off-line folders. The on-line folders are placed on the

mail server’s hard disk and are accessible to everyone with access rights. A public folder can thus be

made for an entire department or for all staff working on the same project. The off-line folders (for

example *.pst files or *.nsf files) are best stored on a hard disk that is not part of the mail server. This

could be another server disk or a local hard disk. The e-mail client programme allows the management of

e-mails in on-line and off-line folders. Both types of folders contain the messages and their attachments.

This implies that they can grow to a considerable file size quite quickly. Many network managers have

determined a maximum file size for the personal mailboxes and on-line folders. E-mail users therefore

need to clean their mailbox on a regular basis. Not to overload the mail server, preference is given to offline

storage of e-mails with archival value as much as possible. All folders and e-mails placed in one offline

folder compose one big computer file (for example MS Outlook: *.pst files; Lotus Notes: *.nsf files).

The disadvantage of this off-line folders is that they can't be easily shared.

Similar to a hard disk the on-line or off-line folder can receive a structure within which the e-mails with

archival value are stored. The development of such a folder structure allows an arrangement based on

functions or activities. As the function of the archive is to document and prove the work processes, this

target is best realised when the folder structure reflects those work processes and more specifically the

functions, tasks and activities of the creator. By preference this folder structure is hierarchical and

arranged from general to specific. The general functions of the creator make up the main sections. For

each task or activity a subfolder is created within those main sections. If desired these folders can be

further subdivided per subtask or subactivity. The lowest level holds a folder containing the e-mails for

each dossier, file or subject 69 . The folder structure then reflects the logical structure of the archive and the

context of the archive components.

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Such a structure is close to a classification scheme or filing plan. Most operating systems or applications sort the

folders alphabetically on name, so that the folder order does not reflect the classical order of the functions

(internal external, general specific). This can be avoided by adding a code to the foldernames.

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