Step-By-Step: Archiving documents in Lotus Notes

Learn how to archive data in a Lotus Notes environment

Ask any mail Domino Server administrator and they'll tell you that disk space is a scarce resource no matter how cheap it may be. One common reason is the amount of e-mail retained by individuals. Many users are packrats so they keep everything, and others would just rather be safe than sorry and save a message. Archiving allows vital information to be retained without hampering mail database performance.

Domino administrators have numerous options for controlling mail database size, so a user is often restricted by the disk space consumed by their mail. Consequently, these users must regularly maintain the mail database either by removing non-essential entries or archiving.

To help your users maintain a low volume of e-mail messages, teach them to archive using these step-by-step instructions.

Archive setup
Lotus Notes help defines archiving as storing information no longer in use. Archiving requires a container to store the items, so an archiving database is used. Naturally, the first step in the archiving process is establishing the archive database.

The Lotus Notes Inbox Tools menu provides access to archive settings. This allows the user to establish archive settings. Figure A shows the selection of archive settings from the Tools menu.

Figure A
Viewing archive settings

Selecting the option in Figure A presents the window shown in Figure B. It has three tabs:
  • Basics: workstation and server settings; activity log
  • Settings: how archived documents are selected; enable/disable archival (Figure C)
  • Advanced: specify documents handling, archived database, and schedule (Figure D)

Figure B
Lotus Notes mail archive settings (Basics tab)

Figure C
Lotus Notes mail archive settings (Settings tab)

Figure D
Lotus Notes mail archive settings (Advanced tab)

The default selection in Figure B is the Basics tab. The first setting in this tab establishes the archival direction. Archiving may be performed in the following directions:
  • Workstation to workstation: archive documents to a local archive database
  • Workstation to server: archive documents to server-based archive database
  • Server to server (Administrator only): archive documents from database on one server to an archive database on another server.

The Change button is used to change the setup. The typical setup (as displayed in Figure B) is workstation to workstation. That is, the user archives mail documents to a local archive database. Recent archive activity information (date/time) is displayed in the Basics tab as well.

Archive settings
The Setting tab, shown in Figure C, allows archiving to be turned on or off and archive criteria to be defined. The list box allows archive criteria to be added, edited, and deleted. The criteria settings are an integral aspect of the archive process, since they control what documents are actually archived. This is clarified by inspecting the default setting for Default For Expired (as shown in Figure C). Selecting the edit button, with Default For Expired selected, presents the window displayed in Figure E.

Figure E
Archive Criteria Settings

The Criteria Settings window contains settings that:
  • Assign a name to the archive.
  • Allow you to copy documents to the archive and clean up the database or just clean up the database without archiving.
  • Allow you to choose how to clean up the database of documents.
  • Select documents to archive (via the Select Documents button, Figure F).

These settings control the selection of documents for archiving, where they go, and what happens to the original documents. Establishing the selection criteria (Figure F) allows the user to use document expired or modified settings as well as documents from particular folders and views. The Selection criteria as shown in Figure F archives documents that have expired more than five days ago.

Figure F
Archive document selection

The enable checkbox (Figure C) handles enabling and disabling an archive setting. The checkbox next to the archive setting corresponds to the enable checkbox.

Making it work
Once archiving has been set up, it may be executed via the Actions menu. Also, it can be scheduled to begin at a particular time. When archiving is initiated, the archive database is created if it does not exist.

Figure G shows the archive options available from the Actions menu with the mail database selected. The following options are available:
  • Archive Now: Begin archive process immediately
  • Archive Selected Documents: Archive documents based upon selected documents in a view
  • Open Log: View recent archiving activity
  • Settings: Settings, as described in this article

Figure G

Don’t lose valuable documents
Archiving is a useful feature. This is especially true for the mail databases, Notes automatically saves a copy of it in the Sent view when a message is sent. The result is a bloated mail file. Archiving frees up space and improves the performance of the database by storing documents in an archive database when they are old or not in use anymore. Teach your users how to take advantage of archiving to fully utilize Lotus Notes and save administrative headaches.