I’ve been living in my email for much of the last two weeks in an effort to follow up on a bunch of emails that I haven’t had time to give my full attention. I organize my e-resource-related emails into four folders in Thunderbird.
-I filter messages from our internal listserv into its own folder
-the guts of troubleshooting go in an “E-troubleshooting” folder
-general maintenance issues are kept in an “E-maintenance” folder
-registration correspondence is stored in an “EBSCO project” folder
That last one is the biggest folder, with 793 messages. (I’m only using 11.47% of 50 MB inbox quota. Whew!) It’s the oldest folder, as well as the folder that hasn’t had any action in quite a long time.
I’ve mentioned before that I thread the messages to better keep them organized. I tend to start off by changing the subject line of the initial message to the title of the resource. (If we ever use a web form like Dana Medical Library, I’d like the subject line to be generated by the text in a “name of resource you can’t access” field.) In order to keep a string from splitting too much I create new, related messages by replying to the old ones and removing the body, recipients, and adjust the subject line; that way, they still stay in the thread. And I try to sort the messages as quickly as I receive them, so that if the reply’s subject line changes (like when a company adds a ticket number) it will at least appear near the other messages. Thunderbird isn’t perfect. Neither am I, which is why I have nearly a year’s worth of “problem fixed!” messages to sort out of my inbox. That’s my go-ahead to delete any duplicate emails so that I can retain a nearly complete account of the correspondence in the fewest number of messages possible.
I’m pleased with my system, except that there are so many different problems with different titles that I can’t always recognize a problem by its title. I might have to search all three of my “E-…” folders to find the thread.
My goals for this year (a la self appraisal) focus on providing quality service for troubleshooting, and that starts with behind-the-scenes organization of notes and keeping an archive. In that respect, I’ve started to think that maybe I should put all of my correspondence in one “E-…” folder. Would it be helpful or a bother to have the registration correspondence about Journal X mixed with notes about correcting a broken link alongside a patron complaint that the TOC links to the wrong article? I imagine an ERM would combine the whole history, but I think the categories I have provide a helpful distinction and less clutter. Hence, I’m reluctant to combine the folders.
Though maybe I could color-code the categories of messages with labels before I combine folders…