Information Technology Services
Electronic Message Management Best Practices
Updated February 2016
- Always be thoughtful about the content and tone of your messages.
- Send only necessary messages to reduce volume.
- Minimize use of UC messaging systems for non UC business.
- Remember that privacy is not guaranteed.
- Keep only those messages necessary for your work, or those considered records in the UC Records Retention Schedule.
- (“Non-records” should be deleted routinely. Non-records are temporarily useful but have no lasting administrative or operational value.)
- Move messages you need to keep to the Outlook Online Archive. (Messages stored on your local hard drive are not backed up.)
- Use meaningful email subject lines to facilitate search.
- Empty the email Sent, Deleted, and Junk folders frequently.
- Keep the sync between voicemail and audio email copies so you can manage them simultaneously, unless the message is a business record that needs to be retained.
- Use IM for transitory communications only, rather than business transactions for which you need a record.
- (IM messages at UCOP are not saved, so IM is not appropriate for conducting business subject to records retention obligations, e.g., approvals).
Keep in mind:
- California Public Records Act (CPRA) and Other Disclosure Requirements. Messages should be appropriate for a business setting: All messages are potentially subject to disclosure to the public under the CPRA; to any individuals about whom the messages pertain under FERPA or the IPA; and to parties to a lawsuit pursuant to discovery. Messages also can be accidentally or intentionally forwarded to individuals without a “need to know.”
- Electronic Communications Policy. All messages are subject to the UC Electronic Communications Policy and, in situations allowed by policy, may be accessed without the holder’s consent.
- Litigation and Other Records Holds. Records holds may be placed on messages when the University (a) anticipates or is involved in litigation, (b) a government investigation has begun, (c) an audit has begun or (d) a California Public Records Act request has been received. Messages subject to records holds must NOT be deleted until you have been officially notified that the hold has been lifted.