Thursday, March 17, 2005

Managing emails one inbox at a time

Good ole Days
There was a time when writing and sending an email didn't mean much. One would write a note, perhaps attach a document, and then send the note. Plain and simple. The same simplicity surfaced when receiving an email. One would read the note, perhaps print it out, and then leave it be inside the inbox, probably never to be touched again. Email management was so simple. Heck, it was non-existent, unnecessary!!

Paradigm Shift
Then one day all that changed. Email evolved from a novel communication tool to a communication tool on which crucial, very crucial, mission-critical information is distributed. No longer could one send and read an email in the same way, especially if the email's content had anything to do with work, business decisions, or the like.

New Policies Require New Records Management Practices
At McGill, the university implemented a policy that made email communication between the university and students an official of communication. In other words, email communication with students became a university records, an electronic university record. Its status changed, the McGill University Archives has to consider the ways to make sure that these emails are managed and preserved for posterity.

digitalpermanence is more than a high-tech electronic records management project--it's also an educational program geared to help McGill staff adopt proper electronic records etiquette. It's meant to teach, through office visits and online tips, the best practices when managing electronic records, including emails. It's not easy since technology is so fluid--one best practice one day could be a bad idea the next. But we're convinced that education is the best starting point. By helping others understand some basic RM practices, the organization and management of email becomes less daunting and more palpable.

One inbox at a time.

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about the author

I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.