Archiving email

Using ePADD to screen and transfer your email to the Stanford University Archives

What is ePADD? ePADD is software that enables you to efficiently screen your email for private information, and transfer it to the Archives, so it can be preserved and support teaching, learning, and research at Stanford and beyond.

ePADD allows you to share only the email you select with the Archives. It can also help you identify and set access restrictions if necessary. If you are unable to carry out this work yourself, ePADD also enables us to easily restrict access to materials according to criteria you define.

ePADD was developed by computer scientists and archivists at Stanford, in collaboration with donors, archivists, and scholarly researchers.

Why Use ePADD? Like handwritten correspondence before it, email represents the lifeblood of historical scholarship. Email offers singular insight into and evidence of self‐expression, collaboration, networks, and transactions.

Sharing your email with us will help ensure your legacy is preserved, and researchers can faithfully reconstruct the context and story of your life, including your scholarly pursuits, activities, and accomplishments.

Who uses ePADD? Over 35 institutions are collecting, processing, and making email available for scholarly use using ePADD.

What types of tool/parameters can I use to help restrict or not transfer particular email? ePADD screens for regular expressions, such as social security numbers and credit card numbers. You can also use ePADD to easily restrict email from particular correspondents (including all associated email addresses). In addition, ePADD supports searching for keywords associated with private, confidential, and legally restricted materials (such as employment or financial information), as well as browsing for messages containing terms associated with health information.

How do I get started? Before installing ePADD, please contact us. Be prepared to share information about the types of personal information you think might be present in your email. The Archives will use this information to help define any appropriate restrictions and advise you on the most efficient use of the software.

Downloading and installing ePADD

Detailed installation information is provided in the ePADD User Guide.

System requirements: OS: Windows 7 SP1 / 10, Mac OS X  10.13 / 10.14, Ubuntu 16.04; Memory: >8 GB RAM; Browser: Chrome 68 or later, Firefox 59 or later; Java Runtime Environment 8 or later required. 


Downloading ePADD: Please download the latest release of the software (epadd.dmg) from the Github repository. Mount epadd.dmg and drag to your Applications folder. In Finder, search for and run ePADD will open in your browser.


Downloading ePADD: Please download the latest release of the software (epadd.exe) from the Github repository. Run epadd.exe. ePADD will open in your browser.

Loading email into ePADD

Start by entering your name and an associated email address in the form. Next, select one or more email accounts you wish to load into ePADD. You will have the option to specify folders and a date range after the accounts are selected. ePADD can load mail through an IMAP connection, as well as email stored in MBOX format.

For email from a account, first file a help ticket with Stanford IT Support, requesting that they enable an IMAP connection for your account. Second, download your email to a local machine using Thunderbird, following the instructions provided here. Finally, use ePADD to point to the location of the downloaded MBOX files. For ease of future navigation, please name the source of this email, e.g. "Stanford Office."

Importing mbox files into ePADD


Exporting your email from ePADD

Select the Export header menu option within ePADD.

Select the Browse button under Export Messages and Attachments.

Browse and select the directory where you wish to save your email for transfer.


Select export.

Transferring your email to the Stanford Archives

Email us to discuss transfer. For large amounts of data and secure transfer, we often copy onsite via a portable hard drive.