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Box: Cleaning Up Ownerless Content

Related services: Box


To meet Cornell's contractual obligations and ensure efficient use of university IT resources, CIT has started a process of deleting ownerless and unneeded content from the university's Box storage and collaboration service. 

Content previously owned by someone who left and that was not shared to collaborators was deleted in February 2021. The materials had not been available to anyone since the owner left Cornell.

In the case of ownerless content that has been shared to someone still affiliated with the university, in coming months, those individuals will be notified of the upcoming cleanup. Collaborators with significant privileges will be given the option to assume ownership through an online app. When there are multiple collaborators eligible to take ownership, the first one to claim it will become the owner. The access privileges of all other collaborators will stay the same. It will also be possible to move content to a departmental folder on request.

CIT staff have begun testing the process, which will be followed by a test with a few hundred individuals from the broader Cornell community. Insights gained from these initial runs will be applied to the larger owner identification effort to come. All content not claimed at the end of the effort will be cleaned up in the summer of 2021, after which identification of new owners and deletion of unowned content will become ongoing automated processes.

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