Email Archiving: Strategies, Tools, Techniques

Certificate Eligibility: 
5 ARC, 0.75 CEU
1 day
Max Attendees: 
Tools and Services

Email is a chronicle of our time; over 3.5 billion people currently use email, and on an average day, 281 billion messages are sent and received. Confidential and convenient, it provides critical insight into the lives and decisions of institutions and individuals alike.

To enable future scholarship and research, libraries and archives must capture, preserve, and provide access to the evidence that email holds. Yet email’s complexity has prevented many archives from approaching this work in a systematic way. Email is a complicated interaction of technical subsystems for composition, transport, viewing, and storage. And archivists must build trust with donors that are turning over these potentially sensitive accounts, capture the collections from many locations, process the multitude of email records, meet privacy and legal considerations, preserve messages and attachments, and facilitate access. This one-day course is aimed at helping participants develop a programmatic means to understand, acquire, preserve, and provide access to born-digital correspondence.

Course Materials:

 Course materials and exercises will be available on the SAA course site, but course instructors will also share a digital version during the course. Course materials include:

  • Three activity/exercise documents
  • Handout - Email Processing Workflow
  • Handout - Email Description Cheat Sheet

We encourage you to review and download course materials and exercises prior to class. 

Learning Outcomes: 
Describe the unique properties of email, and demonstrate knowledge of the effects those unique properties have on email preservation and access.
Identify and respond to challenges (legal, technical, and staffing) associated with programs to acquire, preserve and provide access to email records.
Use one or more email processing tools to classify, arrange, and describe a simple email collection.
Develop an email processing workflow, for potential implementation in their own repository.
Who Should Attend: 

Repository managers, archivists, practitioners, and anyone responsible for the arrangement, description, and/or preservation of digital records. Registrants should have basic knowledge concerning digital preservation strategies. This course builds on others in the Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) curriculum including Basics of Managing Digital Records.

What You Should Already Know: 

No prior experience necessary.

DAS Core Competency: 
3. Formulate strategies and tactics for appraising, acquiring, describing, managing, organizing, preserving, and delivering digital archives.
4. Incorporate technologies throughout the archival lifecycle.
6. Employ standards and best practices in the management of digital archives.
Host a Course:

Interested in hosting a course? Visit our Host a Course page for information on what is required and how to apply!

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