Electronic Mail in the Documentation of Public Sector Institutions
The share of e-mail in conveying information for official use has increased from year to year.
Estonia has numerous legal acts that contain regulations in the area of official administration, but there are in fact no legal acts on the level of legislation that cover the area of e-mail administration. There are standards that provide a general basis for organizing administration of e-mail and a great many guidelines for management of electronic records, but no compact set of guidelines on e-mail administration in Estonia.
E-mails sent or received during official activity (also including attachments), which document the organization’s activity, and reflect the functions, actions and decisions of the institution, are records.
Records must be kept accessible, usable and protected from unauthorized changes until the defined term in the electronic records management system. An e-mail message is a document and record equivalent to all other records of the institution. As a record, the e-mail must preserve its initial content, structure and the context in which it was created.
The administration of e-mails that have value as records places additional requirements on updating of state regulations as well as intra-institution regulations and the knowledge, skills and training needs of public sector employees.