Monday, August 31, 2015

Yes, We’re Still Talking About Email

Yes, We’re Still Talking About Email. Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig. Smithsonian Institution Archives. August 4, 2015.
     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Even if email is obsolete in five years (as claimed in an article called "Why Email Will Be Obsolete by 2020") institutions will continue to receive email accounts from previous years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:
The Smithsonian has been testing an in-house program called DArcMail (Digital Archive Mail System) to provide XML preservation output and a database for searching email messages and attachments within accounts.

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