Why isn’t e-mail more easily queryable?

Today’s blog post is just a short rumination on finding stuff in my vast archive of email…

Do you ever wonder why e-mail systems don’t use database management technology?  Don’t you store some of your e-mails for long periods of time?  Do you group them into folders?  But then, isn’t it hard to find anything later?

Anybody who uses email like I do needs to know which folder is which and which e-mail has the information you need in it.  And it isn’t usually obvious from the folder name you gave it (which made sense at the time) or the subject of the e-mail (which might not have anything to do with the actual content of the e-mail you’re looking for).  And sometimes emails get stored in the wrong folder…

I’d sure love to be able to use SQL against my e-mail system, writing something like:


Or something like that.

Wouldn’t you?

About craig@craigsmullins.com

I'm a strategist, researcher, and consultant with nearly three decades of experience in all facets of database systems development.
This entry was posted in e-mail, SQL. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Why isn’t e-mail more easily queryable?

  1. Tomas Helgi Johannsson says:

    I have been using Postfix and DBMAIL (http://www.dbmail.org/) for several years as my IMAP email server for my private email and I can query my email using SQL, replicate it and do backups on database level. 🙂

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