Need to extract and electronically preserve approximately 500 emails from a GMAIL account, out of approximately 5,000 emails.
April 21, 2009 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Need to extract and electronically preserve approximately 500 emails from a GMAIL account, out of approximately 5,000 emails.

Need to extract and electronically preserve approximately 500 emails from a GMAIL account, out of approximately 5,000 emails.

I am looking for the best solution. One possibility is to import to Outlook, but as I am doing this on behalf of a client, I am very hesitant to wipe out the other ~4,500 emails somehow.

If possible, a mass forward would be an option.

Either way I want to do this in the easiest way possible, with the lowest likelihood of screwing up the client's GMAIL account.

If anyone is curious, I need to segregate out these potential emails for possible future litigation regarding certain intellectual property created by the client.

Thanks in advance.
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd say import the whole mess of mails into an offline client (like outlook). Then, unplug from the internet, search for the messages of interest, archive them, then delete the account from outlook (or whatever). No chance of messing up their gmail that way...

Another option would be to create a filter in gmail that finds all the messages you want and forwards them elsewhere. As part of the filter creation process, gmail asks if you want to run it on pre-existing messages, which would work nicely in this case, I think.
posted by yuletide at 4:02 PM on April 21, 2009

posted by WCityMike at 4:03 PM on April 21, 2009

Create a specific label for all the emails and then use that label to forward them all or copy them out of an IMAP folder to a local folder in Outlook or whatever.
posted by GuyZero at 4:04 PM on April 21, 2009

Is there some common search term or sender/recipient for these emails? You can set up a filter to forward just those emails to another account.

Make sure to do a "test search" followed by clicking the "Also apply filter to x conversations below" checkbox. After this is done satisfactorily, you can delete the filter.
posted by muddgirl at 4:16 PM on April 21, 2009

I recently did some fairly complicated email transferring using gmail's IMAP feature, along with Thunderbird.

Find all those emails in gmail and give them a label. Labels will become folders when you set up in Thunderbird. I haven't tried it with either Outlook or OE.
posted by glycolized at 4:25 PM on April 21, 2009

Enable IMAP then store them in an Outlook PST (if that's your fancy).
posted by wongcorgi at 4:44 PM on April 21, 2009

FYI, gmail filters cannot be used to forward old messages. Once you create a filter, it only lets you forward new messages after that point in time. (It tells you this in fine print if you try to do it)
posted by davr at 6:15 PM on April 21, 2009

going to export to Outlook.

I'm going to try to delete everything but the required messages and then PST the file.
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 6:24 PM on April 21, 2009

If possible, give them a label in GMail before exporting via IMAP to Outlook. Transferring a lot of messages via IMAP can take ... a long time.

As for segregating these emails for litigation purposes, I recommend that you consult your lawyer about any requirements you might have to meet to prove that these messages are the originals, haven't been tampered with, etc. In any case, once you get the PST, you should place it on read-only media, date it, etc.

If the GMail account is actually provided through Google Apps Premier Edition, and Google Message Discovery has been enabled for that account, I wouldn't bother with any of this. Google Message Discovery (previously known as Postini) is designed exactly for this sort of thing - it's an archive with an e-discovery interface. That's a long shot in this case, but I thought I'd throw it out there just in case.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:37 PM on April 21, 2009

I can't get the archived messages to load in Outlook.

any ideas?
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 7:57 PM on April 21, 2009

IMAP, got it!
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 8:13 PM on April 21, 2009

Look at offlineimap for quick IMAP backup. I would not delete anything if this is for any kind of forensic purposes. Copy everything to a master copy (this doesn't have to be destructive to the online copies), then make working copies from that.
posted by vsync at 12:00 AM on April 23, 2009

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