E-mail is the new database?

So, we are all using e-mail more to store our personal information: It’s understandable given that e-mail is ready made for some basic information management.
Basic, but structured and validated, metadata is implicit in the from:, to: and date: fields, and the subject line is usually a useful clue for conducting searches.
Further if you use attachmets and/or embedded hyperlinks, e-mail is an obvious candidate for a simple content management system.
The big “but…” is however, whose e-mail system is storing your mail? And can you transfer your archives to another system easily. Whether you are using POP3 clients or web mail accounts, the scale of potential vendor lock-in to an increasingly vast proportion of our own data and information is something to worry about.
Would a response be to develop a public standard for so-called “personal data vaults” or “Citizen Data Repositiores”, where the user has complete control and access over his or her content, and e-mail systems (and later, others) would be obliged to conform to agreed, standardised, interfaces to request content from, or submit to, a person’s data repository.
More on this soon…

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