Managing Your E-mail: FAQ

E-mail management resources are available online. UCOP employees should review "Managing E-mail as a University Record" to learn which e-mail records need to be retained and for how long.
  1. Is e-mail a business record?
  2. Don't I own my e-mail?
  3. How do I manage e-mail?
  4. How long should I keep e-mail records?
  5. Does all e-mail have to be kept for some time?
  6. I've got too much e-mail already. How can I manage it now?
  7. Why should I manage e-mail?
  8. Are there best practices I should follow?

  1. Is e-mail a business record?
  2. Yes! E-mail that documents significant business, administrative, or operational activities or transactions, or has legal or historical value, is a business record

  3. Don't I own my e-mail?
  4. E-mail about University business is owned by the University and must be managed as a business record. Most e-mail, even personal e-mail, is subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act.

  5. How do I manage e-mail?
  6. Good e-mail management involves keeping only what you need, adhering to required or suggested retention periods, and deleting what you don't need. See the decisionmaking chart for further guidance.

  7. How long should I keep e-mail records?
  8. The subject matter determines how long to keep the e-mail. The UC Records Retention Schedule defines retention periods for some types of records. Good business practice also should guide you – consult your manager.

  9. Does all e-mail have to be kept for some time?
  10. No. Some e-mail should be deleted immediately, such as junk and personal items. E-mail needed for reference purposes only should be deleted as soon as it's no longer useful.

  11. I've got too much e-mail already. How can I manage it now?
  12. Start managing incoming e-mail now and don't worry about old messages. You might catch up later after you've developed good practices.

  13. Why should I manage e-mail?
  14. As a University employee you are responsible for ensuring appropriate access to business records. Improperly retained e-mail poses costs and legal risk to the University.

  15. Are there best practices I should follow?
    • Manage – meaning file or delete – e-mail on a regular basis so it doesn't get out of hand.
    • Check Sent, Deleted, and Junk folders regularly. They should be emptied frequently, and important "sent" messages stored appropriately.
    • Use meaningful subject lines and be consistent. This makes it easier for people to organize and retrieve e-mail on a particular matter or subject.
    • Be careful what you put in e-mail. Don't send anything you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the newspaper. If you receive this type of e-mail, delete it immediately.
    • Send only necessary messages to reduce e-mail volume.
    • Keep in mind that privacy of e-mail is not guaranteed. E-mail is subject to Public Records Act requests and may be disclosed. The Electronic Communications Policy also allows for situations in which e-mail may be accessed without the holder's consent.
    • Avoid keeping excessive personal e-mail.
    • Periodically schedule time to purge e-mail that is no longer needed.