So Much E-mail, So Little Time: UCOP E-mail Management Guidelines

January 25, 2011

To: UCOP Community
From: Nathan Brostrom, Executive Vice President, Business Operations
David Ernst, Associate Vice President, Information Resources and Communications

Is your e-mail In Box full? You’re not alone. Almost everyone feels overwhelmed by the daily onslaught. Nevertheless, it is critical that we manage e-mail appropriately. Failure to delete unnecessary e-mail exposes the University to liability and significant search and retrieval costs. In addition, poor filing and retention habits make it hard to find e-mail business records.

Resources
IR&C and OGC have developed materials to help UCOP personnel better manage their e-mail. Available on the Web, these e-mail management resources include general guidelines, FAQs, Outlook tips, a decision-making flow chart, and information about permanent storage in the UCOP Central Records Collection.

Key Concepts
Like paper documents, e-mail may be a University administrative record and therefore subject to retention requirements. The content of an e-mail message determines whether it is a record and how long it should be retained. Many e-mails though are “non-records,” such as spam, personal e-mail, or informational and reference items. These should be deleted as soon as they are no longer useful.

Good e-mail management means appropriately filing or deleting e-mail on a regular basis. There is one important exception to this general rule: In the case of litigation, an audit or investigation, or a Public Records Act request, you must preserve all relevant e-mails and not delete them until the hold is lifted. In such cases you will be instructed by University Counsel or an appropriate administrator on what to preserve, how to do so, and when to resume normal deletion practices.

Your Role
Each one of us is responsible for managing the University records that cross our desks – or computers. I strongly encourage you to read the guidelines and FAQs and become better informed about your responsibility for e-mail management.