DAVID – Archiving e-mail


DAVID – Archiving e-mail

DAVID Archiving e-mail

8. How to treat attachments

The e-mail attachments can overload the e-mail system and are often spreading viruses. What types of

attachments are permitted What is the maximum size of sent attachments Some companies do not

allow the addressee to open the attachment without the computer responsible first scanning the

attachment for viruses. The policy should also answer the question of how attachments with archive

value are to be archived. Paper archiving allows the attachments to be printed and added to the case or

subject folder. Digital archiving has the choice between temporary storage within the e-mail system and

immediate storage outside the e-mail system.

9. Storage period

It will usually suffice to refer to the storage period of paper archive records.

10. How to treat encryption

The e-mail policy should mention the organisation’s attitude towards encryption from an archivist point

of view. Encryption can be used to add a digital signature to an e-mail. In this case the content of the e-

mail will reach the addressee in a legible form. However it is also possible that the communication

partners decide to encrypt the message itself to assure confidentiality of its content 88 . Here the legibility

should be considered against the confidentiality of the e-mail traffic. Archivists will stress the legibility

and will therefore have a negative attitude towards e-mail encryption. It should be pointed out that the

law starts from a principle confidentiality of e-mail. All authorised measures can be taken to ensure this

confidentiality during the transfer. And even if the right to privacy of one’s electronic message traffic has

been put aside towards one’s employer, it goes still a bit too far to claim that the administration can

forbid the encryption of e-mail. Furthermore this encryption can be to the benefit of the organisation for

example when communicating confidential information.

11. Responsibility

The e-mail policy should determine a reference point that one can turn to when problems arise about the

application of the policy. It is not necessary to have one single reference point for the whole policy. For

problems related to the storage of e-mails the records manager seems to be the preferred reference point.


This implies in practice that the sender will encrypt the message with the addressee’s public key, so that only

the addressee is capable of decrypting the message with his private key.


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