Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wikipedia, Email Disclaimers


I must not be spending enough time on the web. The wikipedia contains over 1.6 million articles and gets 60 million hits a day. How could I not have noticed Wikipedia? Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia written entirely be people like me and you. (well ok, some must be a lot more geeky and me and you) In fact, you and I can edit any entry in the wikipedia. The page for each article is made up of 4 tabs: Article, Discussion, Edit this Page and History. Once you have a wiki account you can put in your two cents worth on any topic. Keywords are underlined to make moving to related articles a snap. If it has any short comings it's the search capabilities. I found it a little difficult to research a topic if I wasn't completely certain of what I wanted before I started the search.

Wiki is a Hawaiian word meaning quick or informal. The Wikipedia then is an informal encyclopedia. It is owned by a non-profit foundation started up by a young stock trader turned millionaire. I think it's a pretty cool way to give something back. You might want to be careful with letting young children use this website. There aren't any censors, any topic can added and sometimes the pages get vandalized. Pretty quickly though the persons with a special interest in the topic that have contributed well researched information to the article will straighten out any entry that gets spammed.

Email Disclaimers

Email disclaimers are popping up everywhere. Some are corporate policy. Some are a result of new legislation. We'll be seeing more and more of them, which in the end means that no one will actually pay them any attention. But I did want to pass this along. It's taken directly from an email to me authored by a partner in a CPA firm in California that I correspond with on IT issues.

"We are now required to add a 'blurb' on our correspondence including email ..... just a heads up if you do any work for Tax professionals you need to guide them to add a 'signature".

If this email contains tax advice, please be advised it is sent under the following guidance:

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that an U.S. Federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue code or promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein."

If you need help setting up an email disclaimer, let me know.

On a related topic some of this same legislation also requires email retention policies. Software manufacturers are just starting to release email archive management tools that allow you to set mandatory archive and email destruction policies for your corporate email. These usually include the ability to search the archived email. I haven't seen any yet, that I'm really excited about. I expect to see Microsoft beef up the Outlook and Exchange built-in archive tools soon.

Harbor Computer Services
(not listed in wikipedia, no disclaimer yet)


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