Bulletin from the National Archives to the heads federal agencies proving records management guidance for electronic messages, specifically for text messaging, chat/instant messaging, messaging functionality in social media tools or applications, voice messaging, and similar forms of electronic messaging systems. There are a wide variety of systems and tools that create electronic messages, and this bulletin is to help develop strategies for managing those electronic messages. Electronic messages created or received in the course of business are records and like all records, they must be scheduled for disposition.
There are challenges with managing these types of messages, which should be met by:
- Develop policies on electronic messages that address some of the challenges
- Update policies when new tools are deployed
- Provide appropriate tools for employees to manage their work
- Determine a strategy to manage and capture content created in those systems
- Train employees to identify and capture electronic messages
- Use third-party services to capture messages
- Ensure electronic messages, metadata and attachments can be exported from the original system for long term preservation.
- Create a retention guideline for electronic messages to meet business, audit, and access needs
- Personal accounts should only be used in exceptional circumstances.
- Provide clear instructions to all employees on their responsibility to capture electronic messages created or received in personal accounts