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What electronic communication needs to be saved?

March 6, 2012 by Sara Nagreen

What electronic communication needs to be saved?

In emergency cases,  LSS will backup and restore computer records for people.  And on a routine basis, the inbox of an email client may be the only source for all of their electronic communication information. 

Is there any other system where keeping everything in one place and sorting through it to find what you need is a good idea?  It’s a little like keeping your entire closet in a pile, then searching through it for your favorite socks!

The UW –Madison Records Management website recently put out an interesting document about what is an official UW email, and what is not.  [LINK TO PDF]  This document goes about explaining what Wisconsin State Statutes define as records and what do not.  Their analysis of a standard inbox?  90% of email communications are either non-business, transitory, or routine and do NOT need to be kept. 

Surprised?  I was. 

I started to look more closely at my own inbox.  If I sent an email confirming I’d be at a meeting, what value does that have to anyone but the meeting attendees and myself.  That’s certainly routine. 

Am I doing any favors to myself by not adding a particular person to my address book, relying on an email for the address instead? 

If I just take a minute or two to delete these bits of stray communication RIGHT AWAY, won’t I be better in the long run?

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  That applies in the electronic world as well.

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