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Main Page > Documentation > Format policies > Email

See also Email preservation.

Significant characteristics of email[edit]

Preservation Format[edit]

Access Format[edit]

  • Options:
    • mbox (implemented in 0.7)


  • These should be normalized according to the media type preservation plan for each attachment file format. Attachments must remain linked to email message

Normalization tool[edit]

Conversion test results[edit]




  • OfflineImap can be used to connect to active IMAP accounts to capture the accounts as maildir.


  • "This format debuted with the qmail server in the mid-1990s. Each mailbox folder is a directory and each message a file. This improves efficiency because individual emails can be modified, deleted and added without affecting the mailbox or other emails, and makes it safer to use on networked file systems such as NFS."

From Inspect: Significant Properties Testing Report: Electronic Mail Gareth Knight, 30 March 2009:

  • "Maildir is an organizational structure for the storage of one or more emails on a file system. Each email is stored as a distinct file in one of three sub-directories: the ‘tmp ‘ sub-directory temporarily stores emails during processing; ‘new ‘ contains newly delivered emails; and ‘cur ‘ contains emails that have been processed by the client ‘s mail-reader software. The storage of each email as a distinct file in the file structure is cited as workaround to file locking issues that affect compound formats, such as mbox that update the mail data file that the user is accessing. However, the filename convention used for the storage of emails may cause incompatibility in implementations of Maildir for Unix-compatible and Microsoft Windows operating systems. The colon character is an illegal character in Microsoft Windows. However, there is no standard on the alternative character that may be used in the environment."


  • Archivematica sanitizes filenames to remove characters that are prohibited in various operating systems. In the case of maildir, a filename such as,U=153,FMD5=f72fc74533f0b9f432010a357af35516:2, would be changed to If we do ingest and preserver maildir files we may need to skip the name cleanup micro-service if email systems depend on the format of the filename to recognize maildir files.