I have to agree with Larry:

E-mail is a CONVEYANCE system for information used by many individuals
and organizations.  IT IS NOT a record type or series.  Retention
periods are based on the CONTENT, not the container. A retention period
should be assigned to an e-mail if the content of the message rises to
the organization's definition of a record, and the retention should be
based on the legal, regulatory, or statutory requirements to retain the
information and take into consideration any business needs that may
exceed that.

Jesse Larry never said E-mail Management is simple he was giving the
first guidance for E-mail Management.
Naturally some tools that vendor provide can assist with the
implementation of E-mail Management, but without good Record Management
guidance, like the one Larry provided, the project will be doomed to

In short - Larry predicted that the always repeating newbie question of
"What is the Retention of an E-mail" would be asked and he went ahead
and answered the question before it was asked & then discussed.

Thanks again Larry well said

Simon De Witt

-----Original Message-----
From: Records Management Program [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Jesse Wilkins
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 2:39 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [RM] E-mail Business Rules

Email is NOT as simple as Steve and Larry describe - otherwise more
organizations would already have applied 60+ years of RM best practices
the problem and have solved it, thereby rendering those vendors'
solutions, well, unnecessary. 

I do not claim that "the sky is falling". I do claim that because of the
intrinsic qualities of email including but not limited to ease of
forwarding, Ccing, BCCing, multiple attachments of any type which
might be records, the tendency to have multiple messages as part of a
message (as Steve just demonstrated) which are editable prior to
replying/forwarding, the tendency to keep the same subject line for that
thread ten messages after the thrust of the thread has changed
the fact that emails are sent to and received from inside and outside
organization, often as part of the same thread and at different times in
conversation to different individuals and groups, the different
formats available for email messages and the applications used to create
store them (3 different things here), and most importantly the sheer
involved, that email cannot be addressed in the exact same fashion as
records or even many other types of electronic records, which otherwise
might be addressable in the fashion Steve describes (although I reserve
judgment on that as well in many instances). 

I think this is akin to arguing that microfilm is just another record
and should not be treated any differently. This is also not true - from
physical storage to the indexing mechanisms used to retrieve a requested
frame to how that information can be shared with others, we do treat
microfilm slightly differently. And multipart forms. And physical
like core samples. And notarized documents. And the list goes on and on
on. Or that CAD files are just another file format and can be treated as
their paper counterparts, while ignoring the unique things having the
original electronic file provides (views and layers as a starting

If your organization has already solved the email challenge, and you're
declaring as high a percentage of those email messages that rise to the
level of records and as accurately as you do paper, congratulations. Of
course, you probably don't need an ERMS either - because since
records are the same as paper, just a different media, it's unnecessary;
only vendors who assert that "the sky is falling" would design solutions
address electronic records; and only users who have been hornswoggled
ever buy those solutions. 


Jesse Wilkins
[log in to unmask]

List archives at
Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance

Tampa Bay Water scans all email for viruses, 
worms, and inappropriate material and blocks email
deemed harmful or inappropriate. Email service is
provided to Tampa Bay Water users for business
purposes and is subject to public records laws.

List archives at
Contact [log in to unmask] for assistance