VSJ – July 2006 – Sounding Board

Council member John Ellis, FIAP wrestles with his email and asks for your suggestions.
Backing up my PC recently, I ran out of space on the backup device. Usually I would have purchased a bigger hard drive and offloaded the data to the new box. Having some time on my hands, though, I thought I would look at what was eating all the space. One of the largest chunks was my email folders. Not surprising, with over 10 years’ worth of emails in them.
I’ve always maintained my folders under broad headings and then sub-divided them as appropriate. This seems a sensible set-up and has worked for many years (hence the glut of data). I know I could archive old data or my dead clients but I always think, “well it might be useful, so I’ll keep it online”.
Three points then occurred to me:

  1. Surely keeping even an email beyond a client’s life is contravening the Data Projection Act, so unless there is a legal reason why I should keep it, once the client has gone so should their emails.
  2. I’m sent content for clients’ Web sites, which are applied straight away, so why keep the source data beyond a few weeks? Delete the emails immediately the work is completed. Files like images will be stored on the Web site anyway so there’s automatically a backup.
  3. I keep snippets of code, links to Web sites with articles of interest, and so on. This sort of data has a limited life. So I probably should create folders that either have a ‘safe deletion’ date or else name the folders in a way that allows me to quickly identify what I can delete.

I’ve been going through my email folders gradually removing dead items, but it is time consuming, so I’m now setting my folders up with a bit more care and filing the emails as they come in. The email folder is already down 23% and still falling. I wonder if others have better ways of managing their email stores?

You can contact John at john.ellis@wellis-technology.co.uk

[Something you’d like to get off your chest? Email me (Robin Jones) at eo@iap.org.uk.]

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