Email Management: Archiving Messages to Optimize Storage

As Ohio State works to decrease its email storage footprint, OTDI is publishing a series of articles that will help you take steps to reduce the number of emails you are storing. The first article covered simple ways to clear out emails that do not need to be saved. This article explains archiving and our next post will cover adding retention tags to folders or messages.  

The key to effectively managing emails and electronic messages is to be proactive. University Libraries has extensive information on managing emails. These guidelines can be helpful because not all records are equal in value or retention period. The retention period for each message is based upon the content and informational value of the message, not the technology through which it is transmitted or stored.  

Why Use Online Archiving? 

Your Outlook mailbox’s online archive can store older email messages where they won't occupy space in your primary mailbox. You have two archive folders in Outlook: 

  1. “Archive” in Outlook is one of the default folders in your mobile or desktop application, like Sent Items and Deleted Items. You can use it to organize emails but does not provide extra storage space.  
  2. To increase your storage space, you should use the Online Archive, which provides additional mailbox storage. You can use it to store older items, which can be moved automatically to clear up space. Outlook for Web calls the Online Archive “In-Place Archive,” and the folder is visible in the folder structure when you open your account online.  

Archiving messages is especially useful if you are storing information that you do not need on a daily basis but believe you may want to retrieve for reference at a later date, maybe for a related or similar work project. Using Online Archive will help you stay below storage limits while enabling you to retain emails that are still valuable to your work. 

We have posted how-to articles in the Administrative Resource Center so you can learn to archive in on any system -- Windows, Mac and the Web App. These instructions also include information about retention tags, which will be covered more extensively in our next article:  

Once you have archived emails, messages in those folders can be set to automatically be deleted based on perimeters that you set in accordance with university records retention schedules. Look for more articles in the coming weeks to direct you to resources that will be helpful in setting up a sustainable filing system so you can easily purge messages you no longer need. 

We will be sharing more messages in the coming weeks to direct you to resources that will be helpful in managing your email messages more effectively.