Just doing a bit of an audit of my company's Jira and I've come across stacks of "External issue ID" custom fields. It looks like one new field is being created by JIM each time we import a set of issues using the External System Import feature.
Can I delete them? What is their purpose?
I think the purpose of that field is giving you backward traceability and searchability.
For example, if you used a different issue tracker in the past and you had a bug with ID=12345, then when you import it to Jira, it will receive a Jira-style issue key like "FOO-567", but the importer will save its old ID to that custom field. Because this info is preserved, you can search for the issues based on their old IDs even in Jira.
This is critical in many situations.
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