Understanding AutoTagging

[This is pre-release documentation and subject to change in future releases. This topic's current status is: Writing.]

Applies to: Exchange Server 2010* *Topic Last Modified: 2008-12-09

Managing messaging records and applying messaging retention policies to e-mail is increasingly becoming an important requirement. Ensuring consistent application of retention policies is a challenge that is exacerbated further when organizations rely on users to significant change e-mail usage behavior.

Exchange Server 2010 introduces new Retention Tag functionality for Messaging Records Management which allows Exchange administrators and Records Managers to apply retention policies. Retention tags can be applied to folders or individual items such as messages. AutoTagging is a new feature that allows further automation of retention policies by automatically applying retention tags to items based on past user behavior, without affecting user workflow.

Based on user behavior

AutoTagging uses a machine learning algorithm that tracks users' tagging behavior. Given a sampling that is large enough for it to learn, AutoTagging can predict the user's tagging behavior from the sampling. The user must have manually tagged a minimum of 500 messages in the mailbox for AutoTagging to start learning. Message characteristics, content, and the user-assigned retentoin tags are inspected by the AutoTagging algorithm, and a model created to predict the user's tagging behavior. Once learning is complete, AutoTagging automatically assigns the appropriate retention tags to new items as they arrive.

Enabling AutoTagging

Users can enable AutoTagging for their mailbox from the Exchange Control Panel (ECP). The mailbox should have at least 500 messages tagged before AutoTagging is enabled. You can also enable or disable AutoTagging for one or more mailboxes using Exchange shell cmdlets, or determine AutoTagging status of users.

For more information, see Enable AutoTagging For a Mailbox.

User Control of AutoTagging

After enabling AutoTagging, a mailbox user can disable it at any time using the ECP. Users can override the retention tag automatically applied to a message by appliying a different tag that may be more appropriate. Users can also override the automatically applied tag by moving a message to a folder that has a tag applied to it. User-applied tags always have precedence and are never altered by AutoTagging.

Whenever a user overrides the tag applied by AutoTagging, the message metadata is updated with that information. AutoTagging notices such changes made by the user and the learning algorithm continues to fine tune its predictions based on such changes.

Administrative Control

Regardless of whether AutoTagging is enabled on a mailbox by the user or the administrator, Exchange 2010 lets the administrator control AutoTagging functionality as required.

Enalbe or Disable AutoTagging: Administrators can enable or disable AutoTagging for a mailbox.

Clear Tags: Retention tags for all automatically tagged messages in a mailbox can be cleared by administrators.

Crossvalidate: Administrators can check the efficiency of AutoTagging's knowledge of a mailbox user's tagging behavior. Administrators can crossvalidate the efficiency of AutoTagging for the mailbox, and compare the numer of AutoTagged messages with the number of messages with tags overridden by the user.

Reset and retrain AutoTagging behaviour: The tagging behavior learnt by AutoTagging for a mailbox can also be reset by the administrator, and the mailbox configured to start learning again.