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Plan e-mail message records retention

Office 2007

Updated: February 26, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

 

Topic Last Modified: 2009-02-20

In this article:

E-mail messages stored in e-mail servers can be records. Because information workers increasingly use e-mail client applications to communicate business information, corporate compliance officers and records managers should include e-mail messages in their records management planning by:

  • Accounting for e-mail messages in file plans.

  • Providing a way to retain e-mail message records, hold them for legal discovery, and dispose of them.

  • Providing a way for information workers to classify their e-mail messages as records.

  • Providing a way for information workers to transfer e-mail messages to records centers.

This article describes planning tasks related to retaining messages by using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. In addition to Office SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft Exchange 2007 includes features that support the goals of records managers and corporate compliance officers. Because the Exchange 2007 features that support records management were designed to easily integrate with Office SharePoint Server 2007 records management features, you can use the two products in a seamless way to manage message classification, retention, and expiration. Therefore, this topic focuses on planning e-mail message records management by using Office SharePoint Server 2007 with Exchange 2007. By using a custom solution based on the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 object models, e-mail message records management solutions that don't require Exchange 2007 can be implemented based on Office SharePoint Server 2007. The section Managing e-mail records without Exchange Server 2007 describes planning e-mail records retention when Exchange 2007 is not in use.

For an overview of Office SharePoint Server 2007 records management capabilities, see Plan records management. For information about planning, deploying, and operating a messaging system based on Exchange 2007, see the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 technical library (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83249&clcid=0x409).

As described in the article Design the Records Center site (Office SharePoint Server), site designers and records managers plan and implement a Records Center site to manage records in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. The following features of the Records Center site, which are the primary features used to manage records, work for retaining e-mail messages records in the same way as they work for retaining other types of records:

  • Document libraries   You create document libraries in the Records Center site to store records. You can create new libraries for retaining e-mail records or you can store e-mail records in existing libraries. For example, if your Records Center site has a "Contracts" document library, you can store e-mail messages related to contracts in that library with other types of contract-related documents.

  • Metadata   You define and create e-mail message metadata in the same way that you create other types of metadata in the Records Center site. E-mail message record metadata typically includes common e-mail fields such as To, From, and Subject. These fields are automatically submitted to the Records Center along with e-mail message records sent from Office Outlook 2007 and Exchange 2007. For more information, see Using Exchange Server 2007 with Office SharePoint Server to manage e-mail message records later in this article.

    To store the metadata for e-mail message records, you must first (as with any type of record metadata) define the metadata columns in a document library or in the content type assigned to the document library. For detailed information about planning metadata for records management, see the section, "Planning metadata," in the article Design the Records Center site (Office SharePoint Server).

  • Record routing   When an e-mail message is sent to the Records Center site, the record is routed to the correct document library based on the content type associated with the message. The e-mail content type information is automatically submitted with e-mail message records sent from Office Outlook 2007 and Exchange 2007 using the Exchange 2007 label feature. For more information, see Using Exchange Server 2007 with Office SharePoint Server to manage e-mail message records later in this article. For custom e-mail message record solutions that do not use Exchange 2007, the content type must be determined by the custom solution and sent programmatically to the Records Center site. For more information, see the Office SharePoint Server 2007 Software Development Kit (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=71218&clcid=0x409).

  • Policies   As is the case for other types of records, e-mail message records require auditing and expiration policies. After a message record has been sent to a Records Center site and routed to a document library, the set of information management policies configured in that document library are applied to the message records stored in that library. For more information about planning policies for records management, see the section, "Planning policies," in Design the Records Center site (Office SharePoint Server).

  • Hold   The Office SharePoint Server 2007 Records Center site includes a hold feature. In records management, a hold is an action suspending a document’s disposition so that it remains protected in the Records Center until the hold is lifted. This feature enables records managers to create named holds that protect specified records from expiring and being destroyed. You can put one or more message records on hold in the same way that you put other records on hold.

Exchange 2007 includes features that facilitate managing e-mail message records and that can easily be integrated into a records management solution based on Office SharePoint Server 2007. These features help ensure that:

  • Information workers can properly classify their e-mail messages.

  • After e-mail messages are classified, they remain active for a duration set by an Exchange 2007 administrator.

  • E-mail messages that must be retained beyond their active retention periods are sent to a Records Center site for long-term retention.

The Exchange 2007 records management features include:

  • Managed folders   These are folders that are configured by a Exchange 2007 administrator so that information management policies are applied to the messages stored in the folders. A typical type of policy applied to a managed folder is an expiration policy, which specifies how long a message can be kept in a folder before it is deleted or moved to another folder for review. When used in an e-mail client application such as Office Outlook 2007, managed folders have the same features as other folders. When a managed folder is selected in Office Outlook 2007, a statement describing the policies associated with the folder is displayed.

    Managed folders are typically named to indicate the business classification of the e-mail messages that they are intended to contain. For example, you can name a managed folder "Research and Development" or "Contracts and Leases." Based on a managed folder's name and policy statement, information workers are expected to understand the purpose of the folder and use familiar means such as dragging and dropping to store appropriate e-mail messages in the folder. Note that when an information worker drags an e-mail message into a managed folder, that action both classifies the message and applies the proper policies to it.

  • Journaling   The Exchange 2007 journaling feature sends a copy of an e-mail message to a target storage location outside of a mailbox. By configuring the journaling target location to be a Records Center site, an Exchange 2007 administrator can implement e-mail message record retention using Exchange 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007.

    You can configure a managed folder to be journaled by specifying a journaling target location (such as an Office SharePoint Server 2007 Records Center site) and a label that indicates the type of e-mail message that the folder contains (such as "product development" or "business critical"). When an information worker moves an e-mail message into a managed folder that has journaling enabled, a copy of the message, the message's label, metadata, and attachments are sent to the target location.

    The label associated with a managed folder is used by the Records Center site to route a journaled e-mail message to its correct document library for long-term retention. The label must match the name of a record series in the Record Routing list. (Alternatively, the label can match an alias for the record series.) This is similar to how content types are used in the Record Routing list to determine the correct document library when a document is submitted to a Records Center. For a full description of record routing and record series, see the section, "Planning the record routing table," in the article Design the Records Center site (Office SharePoint Server).

  • Metadata   When an e-mail message is sent to a Records Center site by the Exchange 2007 journaling feature, the following metadata values are sent with the message:

    • To

    • From

    • Subject

    • CC

    • BCC

    When an e-mail message record is sent to a destination document library, the names and values of each column of metadata associated with it are saved in an XML file in a "_properties" folder that is created in the library, and the metadata values are also copied to matching columns in the destination library. You must ensure that document libraries designed for retaining e-mail messages include the needed columns for storing the metadata values that are sent with the messages.

    If a column for storing metadata in a document library is configured to require information and an e-mail message sent to the library is missing a required value, the submitter is not immediately prompted for it. (This behavior differs from what occurs when a document is submitted.) Instead, Office SharePoint Server 2007 saves the submitted message in a holding library. After a specified period of time — configurable by the Exchange 2007 administrator — Office SharePoint Server 2007 sends the submitter an e-mail message with a link to a Web page in which the submitter can specify the missing metadata values for all pending messages.

For information about planning and configuring Exchange 2007 records management features, see Managing Messaging Records Management (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83452&clcid=0x409).

By using a custom solution based on the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 object models, you can create a solution for records management for e-mail messages that is based on Office SharePoint Server 2007 that does not require Exchange 2007. When you implement message records retention in this way, you must develop programs that have interfaces to the records management methods implemented in the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 object model, and then integrate those programs into your e-mail management processes. For a full description of programming the Office SharePoint Server 2007 object model, see the Office SharePoint Server 2007 Software Development Kit (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=71218&clcid=0x409).

Planning e-mail message records retention without Exchange 2007 is identical to planning retention of other types of records. For general guidance on planning e-mail records management solutions in this way, see Plan records management.

This section describes recommended steps for planning e-mail message records retention if you are using both Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Exchange 2007. If you are not using Exchange 2007, the steps for planning message records retention are similar to the steps for planning other types of records retention. For information, see the following resources:

The following steps describe planning e-mail message records retention using both Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Exchange 2007. These steps guide you in planning a separate document library for storing the contents of each managed folder, which is the easiest way to plan document libraries for e-mail message records retention.

  1. In the Managed folders worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=84737&clcid=0x409), record the name of each managed folder on a separate line. Then, for each managed folder, record the following information:

    1. In the Folder name column, type the name of the label to be used in journaling the messages.

    2. In the Label column, specify the label that indicates the type of e-mail message that the folder contains.

    3. In the Metadata fields column, list the names of metadata fields that will be submitted to the Records Center site.

    4. In the Notes column, supply additional notes such as the retention policy and other policies applied to this managed folder.

  2. Ensure that e-mail message records are part of your file plan.

    1. Review the topic Develop the file plan (Office SharePoint Server).

    2. In the Record categories worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=73300&clcid=0x409), add each type of message to the Records column, and provide a category and description for the message record. For example, if weekly status reports are sent as e-mail messages, you could add "Status e-mail message" to the Records column and categorize them as Personnel Records.

  3. For each managed folder, fill in a Document library for retaining records worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73298&clcid=0x409) with the following information:

    1. In the first section, enter the record type (for example, "Weekly status e-mail message"), the record category (for example, "Personnel records"), and the name of the document library that will retain records of this type.

    2. In the Plan metadata section, in the Column name column, enter on separate rows the name of each metadata field that will be submitted for retention with the messages that will be stored in this library. In the Type field, indicate that the metadata is "record metadata." Indicate if the metadata is required. If the metadata field is new, record that in the worksheet. Note that a new metadata field requires that a new column be added to the Site Column gallery. For more information, see Plan content types (Office SharePoint Server).

    3. In the Plan policy section, enter the policy features to associate with this document library (for example, auditing and expiration). Typically, policy settings are related to a record category, as specified in the Record categories worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=73300&clcid=0x409).

      The details of configuring policies are beyond the scope of this article. For guidance in configuring information management policies and using them in a Records Center site, see Plan information management policies and Design the Records Center site (Office SharePoint Server).

    4. Enter record routing information for each managed folder. In the Records routing table worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73303&clcid=0x409), on a new line, enter the title of the record series. This should be the name of the label used to journal e-mail messages to this record series. Enter a description for this record series, such as "E-mail status report messages." Enter the name of the document library that will store the e-mail message records. This should match the name of a document library recorded in a Document library for retaining records worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73298&clcid=0x409). If other managed folders are being routed to the same document library, enter their labels in the Aliases column.

Use the following worksheets to record your planning decisions about e-mail message records retention.

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007.

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