Email & Electronic Records

Is email a record?

Email is not a record type or series, but is a means of conveying information. Records can be captured in endless ways: paper, microfilm, cave paintings, and emails are all possibilities. The type of format the record is in does not determine its retention; it’s all about the content!  Retention is based upon the content of the email message, not the fact that it is an email message.


What is email?

An email (electronic mail) message is comprised of the following components: the textual message, the metadata, and any attachments. As such each component is part of the record or non-record, as the case may be. E-mail is perhaps the most common electronic record format found in most offices on campus. The vast majority of email is transient and can be deleted once it is no longer of administrative value. A small percentage of email will have to be retained for a specific amount of time, and an even smaller percentage is considered permanent or archival. Refer to your department’s record retention schedule for more specific information.


How can I better manage my email?

See the following Canvas course for more information on how to effectively manage your email, as well as electronic records residing on user’s computers, office shared drives, and university supported management systems:

Electronic Records Management Tutorial