URLs for emails
Email, especially web-based email like Yahoo or Gmail, both sporting huge or unlimited inbox sizes, can be used to archive information and provides at the least a patchwork backup and document management system.
For example, when you’ve finished your TPS Report (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TPS_report_(Office_Space), you can email it to your boss *and* yourself for safekeeping.
How to find it again. Tagging ala Gmail is one way perhaps. Email applications let you make folders ad infinitum to “organize” stuff. Also email search is available with most programs. But wouldn’t it be nice to have direct links to particular emails (with those important document attachments)?
It turns out both Gmail and Yahoo mail seem to allow you to grab the URL of a particular email and use it as a direct link back, provided you’re logged in.
Here’s an example of a Gmail link:
I haven’t tried to understand the parameters of the URL, but you can cull quite a bit out and still maintain a link:
Here’s a Yahoo email link:
A little messier, but you can remove some to give:
…which works fine.
These links to important emails can be dropped on a webpage or into yet another email or bookmarked using your browser or del.icio.us….etc.
I’m not sure if using these URLs opens up security holes into your inbox (so I’ve purposely messed up some of the URL in those given above). Also, it seems like the lifetimes of your links are dependant on the particular server you log into at Yahoo, and the structure of the URL formatting in both cases.
Nevertheless, it seems pretty useful to be able to teleport directly to an item of interest in your inbox rather than be constrained to the typical temporal-view. The ability to create links to information is a pretty important feature of our Memex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memex).
Here’s some search terms that I was using trying to find out more about links to emails:
URL hacks link hyperlink email Yahoo mail Gmail ShowLetter MsgID
Entry filed under: information hacks.