Thursday, March 3, 2011

Email in the news

For those Austin ARMA members who heard our presentation on Feb. 22nd, this article will resonate. A local government that wants to avoid the problem described in today's newspaper could do so by adopting our preliminary recommendation.

We pointed out that some email programs allow a forced categorization element. Before you can start typing an email, you have to select a category that will be used to automatically assign retention. But any such technology makes the email program harder to use (and it doesn't allow the fine-grained detail that would be necessary to comply with our state-mandated retention requirements).

When the work-provided email becomes harder to use, it drives users to alternatives like Gmail or Yahoo or other web-based email systems that don't demand this pre-categorization. This moves records that belong in the work-provided email system to other systems that don't allow access to search. While this is not the issue that put the Austin City Council's email on the front page, it does have a connection to our analysis, which can be reviewed at

We'll post more about our talk on this blog soon, and submit an article to the Austin ARMA newsletter for those who missed it.