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  1. #1
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    Archiving Eudora Email (Eudora 3.0)

    I am a professor of business at a medium sized state university where I am also the Chairman of the Business Department. Being both a professor and an administrator means that I get a very large number of emails from students and I need to respond to each one. Often, the correspondence will stretch across several email exchanges so I will often need to refer to prior messages before drafting a response.

    Since I am also the chair, I get a similarly large number of emails from the faculty in the department and other administrators at the university and these too sometimes require that I refer to prior messages before responding.

    All of this means that I need to systemically organize and save all of the email coming into my account and going out of my account. I have a system for doing that but it is groaning under a huge number of messages so my concern is to find a better way of archiving messages.

    The university where I work is on the semester system. Historically, most message threads end at the end of the semester. The classes are over and as soon as everyone sees their grade, and perhaps complains about it, the students gear up for the next semester. Similarly, most faculty and administrative functions wrap up at the end of the semester.

    Currently, I use Eudora for my email. I use Eudora simply because it is the campus standard that IT installs on all the computers.

    My message archiving system started when I was using CompuServe for email prior to much of anyone using the Internet. Once each semester winds down, I convert all of my email to ASCII files, one file per message, with the subdirectory structure of the ASCII files matching the folder structure for my Eudora mailboxes. I keep each semester set separate from the other semesters. Using this structure and a combination of knowing the mailbox structure and the Windows FIND command, I can almost always locate a specific message.

    Being somewhat of a packrat, I have not gone in and cleaned out really old messages. In fact, I still have those old CompuServe messages. Students have one semester to appeal grades so I have to keep at least one semester of messages but electronic communication takes up so little space that I have always just kept it all. Therein begins my problem. You see, I now have over 100,000 text messages. I cannot even zip them to save them since a zip file is limited to about 65,000 files. Even writing this many small files to a CD is difficult. My CD authoring program chokes before it can finish; although, I have figured out that if I create an image first and then use that image to create the CD, it works just fine. I guess writing an image takes the same work no matter the contents of the image.

    For a number of years, this process worked just fine but, as the number of email messages I was receiving increased, it became a large burden to convert them individually to ASCII files. I was spending several nights each semester in front of the TV, mindlessly converting files while vegging out on too much TV.

    Fortunately, I happened on a tiny program that made the process much easier. The program is Mailbox-to-TEXT/HTML Conversion Utility Version 2.32 from T. Gitlin. The program is copyright 1996. It reads in a single Eudora mailbox (it works with other programs as well) and converts all the messages to individual ASCII files automatically.

    The program works still and saves me a ton of time but it has two drawbacks, one minor and one not-so-minor. The minor drawback is that you have to process the mailboxes one-at-a-time if you wish to maintain your directory structure. Still, automatic conversion is much faster than manual. The not-so-minor drawback is the program has a bug that causes it to miss the subject from any message created using software like that used for a newsgroup. These all get converted to files like "No Subject 99.txt" since the subject is used to create the file name. I tried to contact the author but both email and snail mail were returned. So, I use it to convert some of the mailboxes and manually convert others. The process takes four to six hours each semester.

    About two years ago, I first begin to notice the problems with zip files and writing CD's and I started casting about for another solution. I figured out a solution that I thought would handle everything until I realized a flaw in my plan. I had already created a special folder for my Eudora mailboxes and I realized I could just copy that folder and then empty the original copy. If I needed to search old messages, I could point Eudora back to the copy and all the messages would be there with their mailbox structure intact.

    That approach would give me a limited number of files, would maintain all the subjects, and would maintain all the formatting that was getting deleted with the conversion to ASCII. I would have just started doing that each semester since it would take less than 30 minutes to change over only the university started having some discussions about switching to Outlook. While the university ultimately decided not to switch, I realized that my approach would only allow me to access old messages as long as I continued to use Eudora since the Eudora mailbox structure is not any sort of standard format.

    I like the handy way of accessing old messages so I currently maintain a parallel archive, a copy of the Eudora mailboxes and the converted ASCII files. What I want is an approach that is as quick and handy as just copying the Eudora mailboxes over with which does not depend on my continuing to use Eudora.

    I know that big companies have to have addressed this concern. They cannot be paying people to convert messages to ASCII and they surely are not depending on individual users to archive messages yet they have to be able to respond to legal discovery with a list of all email messages on a particular topic or using other criteria. While I do not need the same heavy-duty software they likely use, there has to be something targeted at individual users.

    I am hoping someone has a suggestion.


    Ronny
    Ronny Richardson

  2. #2
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    Re: Archiving Eudora Email (Eudora 3.0)

    Hi,

    You could have a look at this http://qwerky.50webs.com/eudorarescue/index.htm . I haven't tried it, but it is mentioned on Mozillazine forums.
    John (Unreconstructed Jacobite)

  3. #3
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    Re: Archiving Eudora Email (Eudora 3.0)

    Ronny, I've used Eudora from V 3 through v 7, and my backup strategy was always to get the .toc and .mbx files, as well as the .fol folder(which contains the same file types for the folder ), and a few other files in my daily/weekly backups. If I needed to restore, it's very clean, whether I re-loaded, restored an image then updated the data, or I changed hardware. I burn and can retro back to a specific time frame.

    Possibly your archived files /folders could returned from the backup directly into the Eudora folder, and be useful to collect info, then removed, I don't know. I have not tried that, but essentially that what happens when I restore a backup.

    What I do know, is that if there are disconnects in the TOC files, Eudora re-generates them.

    Don't know whether this helps. I understand Eudora is moving to open source, Mozilla (Penelope project) so I'm guessing the next version will be some type of mix between Eudora and Thunderbird. If that happens, I'm sure they will have a solution to your situation.

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