Email storage strategy

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jgharston
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Email storage strategy

Post by jgharston » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:30 pm

After recovering my email after my server vanished, I've been tidying it up a bit. Before, everything was just dumped in "Read" and "Sent". I've been sorting it into separate directories so now I have:

Code: Select all

Archive+2009+Read
       |    \Sent
       +2010+Read
       |    \Sent
       +2011+Read
       |    \Sent
       +2012+Read
       |    \Sent
       +2013+Read
       |    \Sent
       \2014+Read
            \Sent
with each lowest directory just containing all the messages in date order. However, I've worked my way backwards to overlap my email archive from dial-up days and from my city council work, and this goes like this:

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Archive+BBCMicro+2005
       |        +2006
       |        +2007
       |        +2008
       |        +2009
       |        \2010
       +cc65----+2005
       |        +2006
       |        +2007
       |        +2008
       |        +2009
       |        \2010
       +GoMMC---+2005
       |        +2006
       |        +2007
       |        +2008
       |        +2009
       |        \2010
       +JSW ----+2005
       |        +2006
       |        +2007
       |        +2008
       |        +2009
       |        \2010
       +MAIL----+Fred--+2005
       |        |      +2006
       |        |      etc
       |        +Hazel-+2005
       |        |      +2006
       |        |      etc
       |        +Jim---+2005
       |        |      +2006
       |        |      etc
       |        \etc---+2005
       |               +2006
       |               etc
       etc.
Neither scheme is fully satisfactory. The first has everything from a year in the same place (which is both an advantage and a disadvantage), the second has everything in a year split up according to where it's to/from (which is both an advantage and a disadvantage).

Have other people got a email archiving scheme they can recommend? Other than the most common "dump everything in one continuously ever-extending directory".

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.32
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2020
>_

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mjforbes
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Re: Email storage strategy

Post by mjforbes » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:55 am

Within Outlook 2010 I've created a personal folder file (archive.pst) which contains everything that I've kept since 1999 - this is separated into folders (Friends, work stuff, transport etc). The view applied on the 'Friends' sub-folder is to group all emails therein by sender, then by date, so I can (reasonably) quickly locate the invitation to my brother's birthday drinks in 2011 if I need to). "Work" contains sub-folders for each individual contract that I've worked on and all the other folders contain sub-folders as well, and they all have a separate folder which contains any sent items that I think are worthy of keeping.

I've been using this structure for 15 years, and it works well for me, as I'm so used to it, but to anyone else, it may seem disorganised and 'clumpy'. Needless to say, this PST file is backed up overnight in case one of my hard drives decides to go into meltdown (fingers crossed - hasn't happened in about eight years)

I think that something like this is an entirely personal thing - what works for me might not work for you, and of course, it depends on what your email client will allow you to do wrt the creation of folders/archives etc.

Rgds,

Matt
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roland
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Re: Email storage strategy

Post by roland » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:13 pm

I store most of the mails grouped by subject or customer. This works fine on every IMAP client, so I'm not stuck to a specific client. I use only one or two subfolders to keep the administration simple.

My main mail client is Thunderbird and when I'm looking for a specific message the search-field is good enough. Then I can display this message and all the related messages in the "conversation" view.

I agree with Matt that this is a personal thing and that you must use what is best for your daily work.
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flynnjs
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Re: Email storage strategy

Post by flynnjs » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:44 pm

A recent study showed that people who didn't sort e-mail into folders, rather used the search funtion to find items were more productive.

You do, however, need to read them. I recently went to a meeting and someone fired up Outlook and they had ~6500 unread emails in the their inbox.

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paulv
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Re: Email storage strategy

Post by paulv » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:58 pm

flynnjs wrote:I recently went to a meeting and someone fired up Outlook and they had ~6500 unread emails in the their inbox.
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: [-X [-X [-X

If that person had 6500 unread e-mails, how on earth do they perform their role to an acceptable level? Not reading or responding to e-mails in my business would mean no business at all within weeks.

Paul

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george.h
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Re: Email storage strategy

Post by george.h » Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:10 am

paulv wrote:
flynnjs wrote:I recently went to a meeting and someone fired up Outlook and they had ~6500 unread emails in the their inbox.
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: [-X [-X [-X

If that person had 6500 unread e-mails, how on earth do they perform their role to an acceptable level? Not reading or responding to e-mails in my business would mean no business at all within weeks.

Paul
I know just such a person.... :shock: :?
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BeebMaster
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Re: Email storage strategy

Post by BeebMaster » Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:15 pm

I've only got my e-mail back to 2007. There was a crash at that time and I lost my website and e-mail.

I have several BM mailboxes, there was a purpose to it at one point but really there isn't a distinction between them all these days, except probably the Paypal one.

In each box I have a top-level Read folder where I store all the received messages which I've already read. There aren't really enough messages to need any further sub-division than this.

I clear out my inboxes every couple of months and try to have no more than 2 months' worth of messages in my inbox.

All my sent messages are in the Sent folder in each box, and I don't divide them up any further.

For work, most of our mail comes through a general mailbox which we all can access. It means any one of us can see incoming and outgoing mail without the need for endless forwarding of messages from one desk to the adjacent desk, which is what seems to happen in lots of other businesses.

It does have its problems though, as Thunderbird or the server seems to get a bit confused sometimes with several people being connected to the box at the same time.

The box does get rather unwieldy very quickly, as you might imagine, as there are several hundred incoming and outgoing messages each day so I've devised an enhanced version of my own system above to try to keep it tidy.

We have a separate "archive" mailbox which has year folders from 2008 or whenever I started it, up to 2014, and I put the read incoming messages in those folders when they are finished with, keeping the last two months' worth in the inbox before moving them to the archive 2014 folder.

With outgoing messages I have Sent 2008 up to Sent 2014 folders in the archive box.

Unfortunately Thunderbird seems to have problems bulk-moving messages between different mailboxes. Firstly it does it by copying every message to the destination and then deleting them from the source when it's finished the copy. This means that if the operation breaks down part way through you have loads of duplicated messages in the destination.

If Thunderbird had any brains it would copy-delete, copy-delete so that this doesn't happen.

Also under Windows, trying to do any operation that lasts more than a couple of minutes is utterly hopeless as it times out and insists that you re-enter the mailbox password, and sometimes doesn't even accept the password so the operation ends up being cancelled.

To move messages I have to do it in Ubuntu, which will let Thunderbird stay logged in for hours when moving messages without any timeout problems.

But sometimes it ends up restoring all the moved messages to the source after the operation has finished, which is totally silly, but might be related to having several users logged into the same box.

Yesterday was a case in point, I waited for 3 hours while it moved 1,500 messages from the main inbox to the archive 2014 folder, then I re-started Thunderbird to expunge and tidy up, and it instantly downloaded all 1,500 message back to the inbox whilst keeping copies in the archive box!

If I could stop it doing that then modern life would be good. Ish.
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TopBanana
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Re: Email storage strategy

Post by TopBanana » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:28 am

So for Sys Admins out there, what's the largest mailbox you have ever come across ?

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