Service Accounts for Email Retention

Email. By this point, everyone knows that email can be a record and that it should be classified, scheduled, and ultimately retained or destroyed like any other record. However, despite everybody knowing this, almost nobody has come up with a rigorous yet realistic way of doing it that works in the real world with real people.

In my current environment, we’re slowly moving from a culture in which no email was systematically retained (other than for legal holds) to one in which email’s potential administrative and historical value is recognized, and in which some systematic retention is starting. To accomplish that, we’re using a strategy similar to NARA’s capstone approach, in which the accounts of key individuals are, by definition, held to contain historically valuable material worthy of permanent retention. To supplement that record, though, I’ve also started pursuing another technique with select offices and groups: the creative use of service email accounts.

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Records Management and Web Archiving: RMRT, WebArch join forces for next Virtual Hangout

Please join the Society of American Archivists’ Records Management Roundtable (RMRT) and Web Archiving Roundtable (WebArch) for Intersections of Records Management and Web Archiving– the next installment of our Virtual Hangout series, airing Wednesday, July 9th at 1:30 pm EDT.

Christie Peterson, Records Management Archivist at Johns Hopkins University, and Jessica Meyerson, Maryrose Hightower-Coyle, and Jenn Coast from the University of Texas at Austin will be discussing their efforts to integrate web archiving with records management. 

Peterson will be on hand to talk about her involvement in a project to increase historic knowledge and current documentation of student life which incorporated web archiving to capture the records of student activity and involvement at her institution. See Christie’s recent Schedule blog post for a preview.

Meyerson, Hightower-Coyle, and Coast will discuss their experience developing a cross-departmental working group to create a strategy for preserving their institutional domain and its many subdomains. Their working group includes members from Information Technology Services (ITS), Records Management, University Archives, University Libraries, and University Communications.

We’ll start with an overview of both projects, and then dive into a moderated question and answer session.

As always, we’ll be accepting questions for our speakers from you. If you have a question or topic for discussion please leave it as a comment on this post.

Archiving Email will be broadcast live via the RMRT’s YouTube channel. We’ll also update The Schedule with links to the archived YouTube video.

View past Hangouts here.

Compliance makes a poor, if obvious, cudgel

Information Week published an article at the end of May on the federal government’s efforts to meet the 2012 Managing Government Records Directive regarding the management of records in electronic form. One quotation, from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Deborah Armentrout discussing calls to justify the expense of an electronic records management program caught my eye.

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PUBLISHED: Spring 2014 Issue of newsletter, The Records Manager, is now Published!

Dear RMRT Members:

Here are the Highlights from the Spring 2014 issue of The Records Manager, newsletter of the SAA Records Management Roundtable:
In this issue, our chair, Brad Houston, discusses how RMRT will have a Records Management Webinar on October 7, 2014  in the Chair’s Message.  He also reminds members that  August 15, 2015 will be RMRT’s Annual Meeting Unconference.

One of our Steering Committee Members, Meg Tuomala, reports on the RMRT’s virtual discussion about the National Archives and Records Administration’s Capstone Email Initiative.

Jennifer Hoover, one of our members, discusses her graduate research on records management of electronic health records in small, rural healthcare practices.

Our Vice-Chair, Beth Cron, calls for volunteers to work in the Functional Thesaurus.  They will be creating an electronic thesaurus for use in functional classification.

Finally, another one of our members, Lauren White, discusses Purdue University’s Records Project.
Enjoy the Spring  2014 issue of The Records Manager.

You can retrieve the current issue of the newsletter at

Please remember that the RMRT website can be found at

The newsletter archives can be found at

Would you like to contribute a paper, story, or event to the newsletter? Please go to this link and submit:


Lorette S.J. Weldon, The Records Manager Newsletter Editor

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Welcome to Wine Dance County (

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Two Case Studies of Web Archiving for Records Management

This week, I’m building off of two Schedule posts from last fall: Meg on websites as records and Matthew on social media content as records, by sharing two quick case studies in web archiving from my current work.

For the past year, I’ve been involved in a project to increase historic knowledge and current documentation of student life at my institution. This spring, that project has focused on establishing relationships with student groups, analyzing their functions, activities and records, then scheduling immediate and future transfers to the archives. In other words, records management.

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Anecdotally, assessment is really hard.

Since moving back to my home state, I tend to see a bit more of my father than I had over the previous couple years (shocking, right? It’s almost as if there was a causal relationship between the distance I was from my parents’ house and the frequency with which I visited my parents’ house). My dad runs a chiropractic practice and, like many healthcare providers across the country, has been moving toward electronic recordkeeping for his patient files.
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Managing Records, Managing People

 Last month I attended an All Day Educational Event sponsored by several ARMA chapters in the New York Metropolitan area. The event featured many excellent speakers who presented on topics including e-discovery, privacy of information, information governance trends, the Presidential Records Management Directive (PRMD), and career development and workplace presentation skills. Perhaps breaking good conference protocol, I bounced around and listened to presentations from several of the different designated tracks and attended sessions on executive report writing, navigating achieving the goals of the PRMD, and the future of information governance. Each presentation had a different message, but I still walked away with the same overall takeaway: it’s all about the people.

                As archivists and records mangers we can become narrowly focused on the information that we govern. Appraisal, access, preservation, dissemination, exhibition, retention, disposition, compliance, regulation…on and on we focus on handling the documents and records of which we are custodians. In my experience with other professionals in the field, many of us have an innate sense of value. It’s the degrees of value we discuss in class, but for many of us it’s a natural understanding: informational value, historical value, intrinsic value, administrative value. Most of us just get it, and we care about it too, but it does not come naturally to everybody. So what about those who lack that je ne sais quoi? How can we do what we need to do as professionals if people who create or use records are not engaged?

                This is why archivists and records managers need to be just as skilled at managing people as they are managing information. To be a manager is to guide and to influence, to teach, and to catalyze progress and change when necessary. In a recent RMRT blog post fellow Steering Committee member Christie Peterson wrote with insight about our OTHER skills as records managers. Being an effective manager of personnel should be included in all of our skill sets.

As I’m sure we all have experienced, records, documents, and information can be personal. Within organizations, workflows are unique and individualized. We sometimes have the touchy job of getting in the thick of important business and operations that to others might not seem like OUR business. How can we tell people how to organize their email or use particular file naming conventions? This is where our management skills come in. On top of our know-how of standards and best practices regarding information, we must effectively guide others to work with information from the start of its lifecycle. The buzz of “information governance/IG” seems to incorporate the importance of this active voice of records managers and archivists as key individuals in any organization. Of course, this is all easier said than done. The mix of corporate environments, individual personalities, and general management will make our tasks either harder or easier.

Good records management will boil down to good management of people. We must gently balance our understanding of records value and the great lengths to manage this information, and understanding the needs of the people who create these records by showing up to work every day and doing their job. So, add one more line item to your resume. Even if you are a lone archivist or records manager, you’re still managing and supervising every day.