There has been talk that email was going away.Some say that email is being replaced by texting and social media tools, which are options depending on the message content and who it is intended for. But email still has many uses. A business contract is not being sent via Facebook Messenger, and there are still many online forms that require an email address.
Even if email is obsolete in five years (as claimed in an article called "Why Email Will Be Obsolete by 2020") institutions will continue to receive email accounts from previous years that need to be accessible to researchers.
Archives, libraries, museums, universities, and various organizations are exploring email preservation challenges within their collections. Email messages and attachments come from artists, authors, professors, and government officials, to name a few. Researchers, scholars, and journalists have always had an interest in the correspondence from the past. Previously this information was in the printed form of letters, memos, cards, etc.
There are a number of projects that are being developed to provide access and to help preserve email collections. The various options that are being tested and implemented demonstrate that many institutions and organizations understand the importance of preserving email communications from the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Some examples of projects are:
- Virginia's Kaine Email Project
- Stanford’s ePADD or email: Process, Accession, Discovery processes
- University of Maryland email collections from companies that have failed
- Harvard University system email curatorial project
- We Welcome Our Email Overlords: Highlights from the Archiving Email Symposium
- The History of Email at the Smithsonian
- Open Source Tools for Records Management
- Digital Tools and Apps
- Preserving Email DPC Technology Watch Report released.
- Emerging Collaborations for Accessing and Preserving Email