Thursday, February 12, 2015

Archived Email Messages: Did you know?

Did you know that all Barrington 220 email messages are archived and available?

Barrington 220 recently received a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that required us to produce, among other information, a copy of all email messages that went back and forth between our staff members and a specific company over a 30-month period of time. We were able to use our email archiving system, GWAVA Retain, to accommodate this request, providing the information requester approximately 1,000 email documents.

While this GWAVA Retain email archive system was deployed in large part to meet these FOIA and other legal requests, it also provides each staff member access to a repository of their sent or received email messages. Retain was deployed in Spring 2010 and currently contains all email messages that traversed our mail system since that deployment.

So why mention this system now? As Barrington 220 transitions to Gmail, a part of Google Apps Education, for our email messaging we are looking toward a “fresh start” approach, leaving behind the GroupWise system. Our Retain email message archive system will provide staff members with access to older messages that they may occasionally need to reference.

Why a “fresh start” approach with our switch to a new email system?  When looking at other districts that have also made the switch to Google Apps for Education for their email messaging, one of their great “pain points” was encountered when districts tried to transfer messages from one system to another. The transfer just does not work well, given the great differences between the email systems.

Our Retain email message archive system is certainly not a speed demon on message searches, as its focus is more on speed of archiving messages with actual message searches being a secondary task. With that said, it is fairly easy to access and use. Here is a link to the system:

Login to our Retain archive system using your network username and password:

Click the Search tab. This image shows a 30-day search for all messages and calendar items that include "Google" in the message "Subject" line:

When learning the various search features, the Help button and the Help documentation offers some fairly clear and concise information:

Stay tuned for much more information on all of our email messaging systems as we look toward a transition to Google Apps this coming spring. This information will be provided via a web site, offering "one stop" for all of your information needs.

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