Campus & Community

Managing Harvard’s changing e-mail

2 min read

Summer workshops to set the record straight

In the coming weeks, more than 3,500 Harvard employees – including most of the University’s Central Administration – will change their e-mail and calendaring services to Microsoft Outlook. Because e-mail is such a vital aspect of University records, the planned rollover to Microsoft Outlook is an important reason to think about managing e-mail and reducing its volume.

Though many e-mail messages have little or no value, considerable University business is conducted via e-mail. For legal, fiscal, and historical reasons, that e-mail needs to be managed. With the ever-increasing volume of e-mail, managing it can be a significant task.

“Most of us would like someone to tell us exactly how long e-mail should be kept,” notes University Archivist Megan Sniffin-Marinoff. “But as is the case with all University records, the content matters more than the form – and we know that the content-value of e-mail varies dramatically. The good news is that, for most of us, e-mail can be put into a few broad categories, making retention decisions fairly simple.”

To provide a practical response to this growing issue, the records management staff of the Harvard University Archives will offer three e-mail workshops, which are open to all Harvard staff, over the course of the summer. Hour-long workshops (beginning at 10 a.m.) will be held in the University Archives conference room in Pusey Library on July 10 and 24, and Aug. 3.

Light refreshments will be served. Pre-registration is required. For more information, or to register, visit the Records Management Office Web site at