Email Preservation Glossary

Capture: The process of saving a copy of a message at point of transmission from a  user agent or message transfer agent, to another user agent or message transfer agents.

Domino Server:  A propriety application developed originally by the Lotus Corporation, and now owned, developed, maintained and licensed by IBM, which provides an email server/message transfer agent and several other features, including calendaring, scheduling, and task management.  Domino servers are typically used in tandem with the Lotus Notes client/user agent, and include several extensions to the are known for their replication features, which allow system developers to easily make synchronized copies of data in the email server, including individual messages, either on another server, or on the local user’s desktop computer or other device (IBM Corporation 2009).  Depending on system configuration, users may be able to connect to a specific Domino server using any IMAP-aware client application.  At time of writing, Domino 8 was the most recent version.

Embedded References:  Reference to external documents, such as webpages or externals that are included in an email message. Some referenced material may be essential to understanding the content, context, structure, or provenance of the message.

Exchange Server:  A propriety application, developed and licensed by Microsoft Corporation, providing server based email, calendar, contact, and task features. Exchange servers are typically used in conjunction with Microsoft outlook or the Outlook Express web agent.  Exchange servers use a proprietary storage format.  Messages sent using them include extensive changes to the header of the file, and Microsoft Depending on local system configuration, users may be able to connect to a specific Exchange server using any IMAP-aware client application.  At time of writing, Exchange 2010 was the most recent version.

Internet Message Format (IMF):  A defined syntax specifying the precise set of rules by which a textual files may be sent between computers as part of en email system.  Defined most recently in the IETF’s RFC 5322, it does not provide for the transmission of non-text based files, such as binary application files, images or attachments; rules for including those files are included in the suite of protocols defining Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME).

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP): A code of procedures and behaviors regulating one method by which email user agents may connect with email servers and message transfer agents, allow an individual to view, create, transfer, manage and delete messages.  Typically contrasted with the POP3 protocol, IMAP is defined in the IETF’s RFC 3501.  Email clients connecting to an server using IMAP usually leave a copy of the message on the server, unless the user explicitly deletes a message, or has configured the software with a rule or rules that automatically delete messages meeting defined criteria.

Inline Image:  An image file, written in MIME format, that is intended for display alongside the body of the message, rather than as an attachment.

Internet Engineering Task Force:  An informal, open group of system engineers, vendors, computer operators, and interested individuals who define the standard protocols by which the Internet operates, via a set of working groups and meetings.  The IETF issues Internet standards in a Request for Comments (RFC) format.

Journaling: the process of capturing email messages at the point of transmission from one message transfer agent to another.  When a message is journaled, an exact copy of the message, in its original format, is written to another email account or storage location, along with metadata to ensure the authenticity of the message.  Several email servers, such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino, include journaling features that can be enabled by a server administrator.  Once journaling is turned on, messages can be accessed by third party application written or written to an external store, and most journaling tools include rule or filtering systems to limit the types of messages journaled.

Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI):  A proprietary but open protocol for accessing and manipulating messages stored in the Microsoft Exchange Server and related parts of the the Exchange/Outlook architecture, on a Microsoft Windows computer.  By defining a set of objects, functions, and methods, Simple and Extended MAPI can be used to add messaging functionality (including message creation, transfer, deletion and categorization) or develop applications to capture and store email from an Exchange server.

Message Transfer Agent (MTA): software that transfers a message from one computer to another within a client server architecture defined by the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.  Multiple MTA’s may handle a message before it is delivered to its final destination.

Migration: The process of converting an email message or messages from one storage format to another storage format.  Migration can be completed using tools built into an MTA or UA, or by stand-alone migration tools, such as Xena, Aid4Mail, and Emailchemy.

Milter: an extension for the popular postfix and sendmail mail transfer agents, allowing for the identification, sorting, and filtering of messages while they are in transit from the sending to the receiving server. Although milters are typically used to identify and quarantine spam and viruses, they can also be used to identify and filter messages for capture to an external email store.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME):  A protocol for including non-ASCII information in email messages.  Specified in IETF RFC 2045, 2046, 2047, 4288, 4289 and 2049, MIME defines the precise method by non-Latin characters, multipart bodies, attachments, and inline images may be included in email messages.  MIME is necessary because email supports only seven-bit, not eight-bit ASCII characters. It is also used in other communication exchange mechanisms, such as HTTP.  Software such as message transfer agents, email clients, and web browsers typically include interpreters that convert MIME content to and from its native format, as necessary.

Post Office Protocol (POP3): an Internet Protocol that defines the ways in which an email user agent may connect to an email server to retrieve and manage email messages that the server or client are holding in storage.  POP3 typically moves email messages from the server to the client machine and deletes the server copy, although it is possible to configure the server to maintain the message, or the order the server to do so, via a setting in the client application.

Single Instance Storage: a method by which a computer system keeps and points to one copy of a message, document or other data, even though the data is shared among multiple users or accounts, thereby de-duplicating information and saving storage space.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP): A set of rules that defines how outgoing email messages are transmitted from one Mail Transfer Agent to another across the Internet, until they reach their final destination.  Defined most recently in IETF RFC 5321.

Structured Records: Data or records formatted and stored in accordance with a defined model and which can be queried using a standardized syntax.  Examples include information in transactional databases or XML files.

Taxonomy: a formal or informal nomenclature applied to structured or unstructured records, to make them easier to discover, use and repurpose.  Examples include controlled vocabularies, hierarchical classification system, and tag clouds.

Trusted Digital Repository: A set of hardware, software, and human systems that maintain authentic and reliable electronic information and (optionally) render it to a human or machine agent.  The DRAMBORA toolkit and the Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification Checklist help institutions certify that a particular repository is dependable.

User Agent: Software that interacts with the message handling system (MHS) to retrieve and send messages, and with the end user to create, store, edit, delete, print, classify and otherwise manipulate email messages.

Unstructured Data/Records:  Data or records that do not conform to a specified data model or which cannot be queried using a standardized syntax, but which are stored in a filesystem. Records such as email messages, correspondence stored in personal workspaces, text/instant messages, and blog postings tend to include unstructured data, although email headers provided some structured data for each message.