You should decide which emails to capture using the same criteria as all other records.
Once you have decided that you need to capture an email documenting a business activity or decision, remember to:
- capture emails at the end of a thread where possible (rather than every to-and-from)
- capture attachments to emails
- capture work related emails from your personal email accounts if they are used for business
- check the relevant retention and disposal schedule to ensure you don’t delete business emails that are required to be kept for a certain period of time.
Most email systems do not have sufficient recordkeeping functionality to properly capture and manage emails. Email archives and back-up tapes are not suitable methods of capture.
Procedures and processes may need to include a standard, and business rules for who, when, where and how to capture emails (e.g. standard naming conventions and detailed subject fields).
Some business rules you could include are:
- if you are the sender–you are responsible for capture
- if you have received an email from an external sender and you are the only recipient in your agency–you are responsible for capture
- if you have received an email from an external sender and you are one of many recipients in your agency–the person who is most directly involved in the issue or task is responsible for capture.