Nagging Topic: What to do about Email?
See also: Ethical, Social and Legal Issues in Cyberspace in Hot Topics/Ethics-Legal section.
Contact Rick Barry at rickbarry [at] aol [dot] com
1. Distinguish between policies and guidelines.
2. Reduce the volume of email.
3. Donít let email interrupt other work.
4. Make emails concise and clear.
5. Get backups and archiving under control.
6. Communicate your goals ó and keep them realistic.
Read the full article by Margaret Steen here.
See related articles: "Don't Touch That 'Send' Button!" by Andrea C. Poe, HR Magazine, and "E-communications & Netiquette: Establishing Guidelines Beyond Email" by Rick Barry in Imaging and Document Solutions magazine; and other articles listed below under the categories: E-Communications/Email (E-Mail) Policies, Guidelines for the Management of E-Mail, Ethical, Privacy and Property Rights Issues, and Legal Issues and Case Law.
E-Communications/Email (E-Mail) Policies
"E-communications & Netiquette: Establishing Guidelines Beyond Email". Originally published in three installments in the New York-based Imaging and Document Solutions magazine from April to June 2000. Is yours an organization that makes considerable use of email, vmail, intranet, extranet, Internet and EDMS systems? Are you an early adopter of new information technology? Are you in an industry that is regulated or litigious in nature? Do you have considerable electronic communications with business partners or the public? Then you should be concerned about having an up-to-date electronic communications policy.
Electronic Mail Policies and Management, a source of policies for state and local governments, although some are adaptable to private sector use, such as the Vermont State Archives policy accessible through this site. Thanks to Peter A. Kurilecz CRM, CA for the heads up on this excellent site.
Hash, Susan, "The Lack of a Formal E-Mail Policy Can Create Risk of Liability," Call Center Management Review, September, 2000. As e-mail communications in business continues to grow, the legal issues surrounding its use are likewise evolving. While many of the initial concerns of abuse involved outbound e-mail, such as spamming and consumer worry over privacy, more recently, the focus has been shifted to improper use by employees and recordkeeping issues.
"Don't Touch That 'Send' Button!" by Andrea C. Poe, HR Magazine, Vol. 46, No7, page 74-80, July, 2001. HR Magazine is the premier human resources journal of the Society of Human Resource Management. This excellent article on current email issues includes stories of email abuse and related policy and guidelines. It provides tips and has links to other resources not included in the guidelines, including Barry Associates "Recommended Email and Internet Etiquette (Netiquette) Guide." The article includes results of the authors interviews with Barry Associates Principal, Rick Barry, Edie Hedlin (Director of the Smithsonian Institute Archives), Coralee Whitcomb (President, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility) and others. (HR, also has an excellent regular column on "HR Technology".)
The Rick Barry Workshops E-Mail Policy Breakout Question. Delegates' answers at Rick Barry's New Zealand workshops.
"E-Mail Policy: What we've got here is a failure to communicate", by Rick Barry, Barry Associates.
University of California, Electronic Communications Policy, Office of the President, Reissued November 17, 2000.
Recordkeeping and Electronic Mail Policy: The State of Thought and the State of the Practice, by David Wallace. (See extensive endnotes.)
Guidelines for the Management of E-Mail
"Email messages ARE organizational records!" by Rick Barry, on Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) web site.
E-mails" by Filip Boudrez and Sofie Van
I. WHAT IS AN E-MAIL?
II. WHY ARCHIVE E-MAIL?
III. THE LEGAL VALUE OF E-MAIL
IV. PRIVACY: LEGAL FRAMEWORK
V. OTHER RELEVANT REGULATIONS
VI. ARCHIVING E-MAIL: THE OPTIONSVII. E-MAIL ARCHIVING IN PRACTICE
Maine State Government Information Services Policy Board
Elephant Traps and How to Avoid Them," by Laura
Texas State Library: E-Mail and Records Management???
E-mail Management FAQ, Oregon State Archives.
"Managing the message: Emerging solutions help agencies secure and control instant messaging
," by Maggie Biggs, Federal Computer Week, June 2, 2003.
"Instant messaging technology is both a boon and a bane for agencies. On the plus side of the ledger, IM provides 'presence awareness' that can rapidly link internal and external participants. Dynamic, multiparticipant meetings can be held via IM ó and so can one-on-one conversations between employees, customers and business partners. Documents and desktop applications can be shared and files transferred. In short, IM can boost productivity and enhance an agency's collaboration and problem-solving capabilities. On the negative side of the ledger, IM introduces security risks and the potential for a reduction in productivity."
This excellent article gets the IM issue out of the closet, presents its pros and cons and compares current IM products. Unfortunately, it fails to even mention the fact that, like email, IM can very well constitute records, and the issues that gives rise to even beyond those with email, due to the absence of necessary metadata and related recordkeeping functionality. Clearly, CIO, corporate attorneys and other executives are going to have to go through the same learning process as was the case with email. RB
"E-mail and Potentail Loss to Future Archives and Scholarship or The Dog that Didn't Bark," by Susan S. Lukesh." First Monday, Peer-Reviewed Journal on the Internet, Volume 4 Number 9 ó September 6th 1999 pattern has emerged in starting presentations on the preservation of electronic materials: Disaster! In 1975, the U.S. Census Bureau discovered that only two computers on earth can still read the 1960 census. The computerized index to a million Vietnam War records was entered on a hybrid motion picture film carrier that cannot be read. The bulk of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's research since 1958 is threatened because of poor storage. These tales are akin to Jorge Luis Borges's short story in which the knowledge of the world is concentrated in one mammoth computer - and the key is lost. The essential question for the Information Age may well be how to save the electronic memory (Stielow: 333)."
XML for Digital Preservation: XML Implementation Options for Emails - HTML by Maureen Potter. "This paper presents...work we have undertaken at the Digital Preservation Testbed in the Netherlands using XML as a preservation approach...I will...discuss the advantages and disadvantages of XML for archival preservation, and identify the attributes of email as a record type that make it particularly suitable for conversion to XML. This paper will then focus on the three different implementation options...The first two are intended for use on emails that have already been transmitted...The third is an Ďadd-iní that is integrated with the email application (in our case Outlook), and that creates and stores an XML representation of the message at the same time that it is originally transmitted.
"Save That Mail: Store e-mails properly, or you could face stiff fines," by Mary K. Pratt, Computerworld, January 27, 2003. Archiving e-mails has become serious business as courts, government
officials and industry regulators increasingly order expensive searches and issue stiff fines for lost or poorly stored e-mails. Thanks to Larry Medina for the heads-up on this article.
"Self-shredding e-mail," by Chris Seper, Plain Dealer Reporter, Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 15, 2002. An upcoming version of Microsoft's e-mail program Outlook will let authors decide how long an e-mail message will exist and whether it can be sent to other people or printed out for posterity.
"Companies Rethink What to Shred, and When," by Jonathan D. Glater, New York Times, July 12, 2002. Spurred by repeated scandals and the specter of legislation, companies are examining their document-retention policies, making sure that the procedures are up to date and that employees are complying with them, according to lawyers who advise corporations. Companies are also struggling with questions of what to do about electronic documents.
Electronic Mail (E-Mail) and Records Management, by Rick Barry.
Ethical, Privacy and Property Rights Issues
"2001 AMA Survey: Workplace Monitoring & Surveillance: Policies and Practices: Summary of Key Findings"
"Ethical Implications of Privacy in Electronic Mail", by Victoria A. White, from "Proceedings of Technical Conference on Telecommunications R&D in Massachusetts", University of Massachusetts, Lowell, October 25, 1994.
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