Curating Emails

Maureen Pennock, The British Library

Published: July 2006

Email forms the backbone of communications in many modern institutions and organisations and is a valuable type of organisational, cultural, and historical record.

Successful management and preservation of valuable email messages and collections is therefore vital if organisational accountability is to be achieved and historical or cultural memory retained for the future. This requires attention by all stakeholders across the entire life-cycle of the e-mail records.

This instalment of the Digital Curation Manual reports on the several issues involved in managing and curating email messages for both current and future use.

Although there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution, this instalment outlines a generic framework for email curation and preservation, provides a summary of current approaches, and addresses the technical, organisational and cultural challenges to successful email management and longer-term curation.

Download the Curating E-mails chapter (pdf)

Key Points

  • E-mail as an organisational, cultural, and historical record
  • Legal issues
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Preservation strategies
  • Curation approaches