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Finding unused databases in Lotus Notes and Domino

Organizations often have hundreds of Notes/Domino databases across many servers, only a few of which have significant usage. Learn how to find and remove unused databases to reduce the disk space and complexity of your Notes/Domino environment.


One of the most common questions I receive about Notes Domino administration is: "How can I find unused Notes Domino databases?"

Organizations often have hundreds of Notes/Domino databases across many servers, only a few of which have significant usage. Finding and removing unused Notes/Domino databases helps reduce disk space and complexity for both users and administrators.

The trends server task can gather this data for you, and you can view it in activity.nsf or within the Domino Administrator client (at Server -> Analysis -> Activity).

But the trends task -- and other similar data gathering methods -- have a drawback. You must enable the statistics gathering, wait for the data to be collected, and then analyze the data. What if you want to know now about Notes/Domino database usage over the past six months? You want to look back in time, not wait six months for new data.

The Database Catalog (catalog.nsf) has the information you need. But the relevant facts are buried within the catalog documents and are cumbersome to read. You can easily open up an individual catalog document for a particular database and see it usage. But what you really want is a report that shows a list of all the databases in your enterprise, with the least-used at the top.

I've created two views that give you just such a report, and you can add these views to your Database Catalog, making it significantly more useful. A sample database containing the views – entitled "Database Usage Report" -- is on the Downloads page of my Web site.

The first view shows:

  • The number of uses for each database during the last month
  • The number of uses per database during the "report period"
  • The length of the report period in days

The report period is the length of time that the Database Catalog gathered data for that Notes/Domino database. Keep in mind that, if the report period for a database is short (say, less than seven days), the usage data is probably not reliable.

The second view helps you focus on Notes/Domino databases that are candidates for removal from the system. The view shows only databases where the report period is greater than 20 days, so it discards unreliable data. The view is sorted by usage per month, so removal candidates are at the top. Finally, the last column shows the names of the Managers and Designers of the database (taken from the ACL) since you may want to contact these people before deleting their databases.

Technically, the views work by selecting elements from the usage array that is stored within each catalog document. For example, the 7th element of the field DbActSummDisp is the number of uses for that database during the last month. So that view column contains the formula DbActSummDisp[7].

Likewise, DbActSummDisp[10] is the number of days in the report period. Because the array-element syntax (square brackets) was introduced with Notes/Domino 6, these views do not work on Notes/Domino R5 or earlier.

The manager and designer column is somewhat trickier, because the names are buried within two fields -- ManagerList and DesignerList. Also, I try to scrub the list so that only the names of real people are displayed, not items such as LocalDomainServers, etc.

So the formula for this field is:

m:=@If(ManagerList=""; ""; 
d:=@If(DesignerList=""; ""; 
all_scrubbed := @Trim(@Replace
(all; "-Default-": "LocalDomainAdmins": 
"Notes Administrators"; "":"":"":""));
@If(all_scrubbed="";"(No names found)"; 
@Implode(all_scrubbed; "; "))

You can use this sample in two ways:

  • Copy/paste documents from your catalog.nsf database into my sample database
  • Copy/paste the two views from my sample into your server's catalog.nsf

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome!

About the author: Chuck Connell is president of CHC-3 Consulting, which helps organizations with all aspects of Lotus Notes and Domino.


Usually, not all Lotus Notes databases are listed in the catalog. To make sure all Notes databases are present, you need to run an agent on your Domino server, using the 'ListInDbCatalog' property (NotesDatabase class). This will set the flag 'List in Database Catalog.'
—Leandro R.


I believe that the last feedback response is incorrect. All databases are listed in the catalog, it's just that the standard views that are there all exclude databases that are not flagged to show in the catalog. Check the selection criteria for the standard views and you'll see '!(DBListInCatalog = "0")' in each of them. Remove that criteria, as Chuck has done, and you will see all the databases.
—Tony C.

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