Access and Retrieval Considerations for Email Archiving

Lightning Talk
Neal Fishman, IBM, USA

Digital letter writing (by contrast to the use of pen and paper) can be a formal correspondence medium, where the content is written using delightfully phrased constructs and contains prose that illuminates a state of being or artfully relays a masterful and provocative thought or idea. Digital letter writing is also as apt to contain colloquialisms, disjointed phrasing that reflects a stream of consciousness, a preserved soliloquy, and off-the-cuff remarks or retorts as well as a myriad of attachments and links to anything that is correlated with an IP address.

Regardless of the author’s (the from-er’s!) linguistic deftness, tone, selection of carefully placed emoticons (LOL !!), or the relevancy of the train of past chronological conversations threaded in the correspondence are to the actual current topic-at-hand, the digital letter may contain material that could be deemed private or include subject matter that has legal implications or ethical considerations. We are duly forced to conclude that a museum’s email archive is not a repository for universal, unconstrained access.

Above all, an email archive must be secured and provide for degrees of authorized access to entitled or sensitive information. As the world of cognitive computing is upon us—a world where asking a computer a question allows the computer to reformulate the exact nature of enquiry to provide the best possible answer—what would the computer do if it knowingly can’t provide the best possible answer because of access privileges? Would such a computer provide a wrong answer just because an answer is plausible if not the exact truth?

Therefore, rationalizing the privacy, ethicality, legality, and security needs for an access and retrieval mechanism within an email archive means that features must exist to provide for something more than a Google search.

Book--Viral Data in SOA: An Enterprise Pandemic; ISBN-13: 978-0137001804
Textbook--Enterprise Architecture Using the Zachman Framework; ISBN-13: 978-0619064464