Microsoft have long been threatening to remove Public Folders from Exchange and have been deprecating their use with every iteration of the product. Typically, here at Newcastle University, users have requested Public Folders to keep calendars of meeting rooms. Although the Public Folders are easy to set up and manage, they don’t really work too well. Checking availability and the logistics of organising the time with the Public Folder calendar alongside personal calendars is often a complicated and laborious affair.
Using Outlook 2007 and Exchange 2007, the creation of dedicated Resource Mailboxes became a much simpler process and more user friendly. To fall in line with Microsoft’s deprecation of Public Folders, we are keen to have people to move their Public Folder calendars into Resource Mailboxes. The set-up and maintenance of the Resource Mailboxes is best suited to a School Computing Officer or if not available a dedicated super-user.
The resource mailbox is very similar to a standard mailbox however does include some extra options to allow for automated responses and resource dedicated configuration.
Although the Resource Mailboxes still work with Outlook 2003, the checking of availability and the manner in which to find the resource mailboxes is slightly more complicated.
I’ve recently drawn up some documentation for Computing Officers with regards to the configuration of Resource Mailboxes and also for end-users for how you would use them in daily operation.
We’ve been using Resource Mailboxes internally within ISS for a little while now and have also introduced the service for the Student Interaction element of King’s Gate and parts of the Robinson Library. It is to note that this system is not a competitor for Syllabus Plus and our in-house timetabling services, but to be used as a supplement so that users can organise small meetings within their school/service.