Email Management Guidelines

Below are some basic guidelines on how to manage your inbound and outbound email on a daily basis.

Stick to Business

  • Use email resources primarily for business purposes.
  • Use appropriate and meaningful subject lines to assist the recipient(s) in efficiently processing the message and any attachments.
  • Create labels and folders to file your messages using easily understood Subject/Topic terms.  
  • Consider your email as a College resource and do not expect it to be private. 
  • Limit personal use and segregate personal content from email created/received to conduct College business.

Protect College Records

  • Understand that your email messages, attachments and the associated transmission metadata may be considered College records on the basis of various regulatory, compliance, or operational requirements. 
  • College records must be retained for defined, approved periods of time based on their content and purpose. 
  • Consult with the Archives staff for guidance on classifying email and to ensure you do not delete official records.
  • Protect e-mail messages, attachments and records from unauthorized release to third parties.
  • Understand that e-mail messages (sent AND received) as well as attachments can be subject to legal discovery.
  • Segregate college records received and sent via email with Inbox labels and folders or transfer official records to an organized, secure, and accessible filing system (such as Box) on a regular basis. Consult with the Archives staff for guidance on these activities.

Use Resources Wisely

  • Periodically check your Junk/Spam folders and delete the messages.
  • Weed out and delete transitory, personal and outdated/superseded email messages and attachments on a regular basis. 
  • Delete messages in the Sent folder that do not meet the definition of a College record on a regular basis.
  • Make a habit of emptying out the Trash on a regular basis.
  • Learn how to use Gmail filters and set rules that can file messages, send alerts, block unwanted mail, etc. 
  • Unsubscribe from listservs if you do not have time to read the messages and when you are unable to check your email for an extended period of time.

Contact the IT Help Desk (ext. 8080) and the Archives staff (ext. 8301 or archives [at] (archives[at]emerson[dot]edu)) for assistance in setting up appropriate email records storage.

Flowchart: Email Management Workflow

  • Is the message related to business, programs, projects and/or your job duties? If no, it’s a non-record, delete/destroy as soon as possible. If yes, review content of message and attachments for business risk/value. 
  • Is the message of transitory or limited value? Transitory records (meeting or event notifications, user copies of announcements or requests) are required for only a limited time to ensure completion of a routine action or the preparation of a subsequent record. Transitory records should be placed in a folder/file that is designated for periodic review and disposed of in an appropriate manner as soon as allowable. If yes, it’s a transitory record, delete/destroy when no longer needed
  • If no, does the message explain, justify or document a business/project action or decision? If yes, Treat as College Record:
  • College records, regardless of media or storage location, are retained in accordance with the Emerson College Records Management Policy. The records should be added to a trusted College or hosted repository.
  • Or you may need to take another action which may include:
    1. Acknowledge or confirm
    2. Distribute to internal or external contact(s)
    3. Respond to sender and/or follow-up with others
    4. Save for future reference
    5. Transfer information to another record
    6. Print or convert and add to business/project file

See the following PDF download for a visualization of this flowchart: