Laurel McPhee, Tori Maches


Processing and providing access to email continues to be a major bottleneck in many born-digital archives programs. With the logistical and technical challenges involved, it can be easy to lose sight of simpler strategies to make email available to researchers now. Are you stuck feeling like you’re waiting indefinitely for a tool or system that provides a perfect “email experience?” This briefing will help you think about other ways to move forward.

This session highlights steps taken by archivists at UC San Diego to process and provide “good-enough” access to email across a variety of format types, utilizing the Mailbagit open source tool and the DAMS system already in place at the library. They will describe the process of building confidence with email via working with individual messages saved as plaintext or images, and using this to develop a format-agnostic approach to email in collections.

Presenters will provide a case study of building on this foundation to process an email collection from the 1990s. We’ll show how we create PDF surrogates to facilitate keyword searching, keep threads intact, and leverage existing infrastructure and resources to facilitate discovery and remote access in the short term, while preserving the original files.

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Day Three – June 15
Laurel McPhee, Tori Maches