Selected Science Listserv Sites

What is a Listserv?

The Internet provides thousands of discussion groups via e-mail by allowing users to place themselves on electronic mailing lists. A listserv is a program that maintains one or more of these mailing lists (i. e., a list server). The program's task is to automatically distribute each e-mail message sent to the common mailbox by any member of the list to all the others on the list. Listservs maintain thousands of lists in the form of digests, electronic journals, discussion groups and the like.

When you join a listserv, your name and e-mail address are automatically added to the list. Your first email message from the listserv is usually a standard letter of welcome that describes the list's operational procedures. After this message you begin to receive every email message (posting) sent to the list by its members.

Benefits
You may benefit from the group discussions as a reader only, or join in on the discussion and post messages of your own. You may send messages to the common listserv address, in which case all members of the list will receive your message, or correspond with a single member of the listserv.

Subscribing
To subscribe to a listserv, send an e-mail message to the computerized administrator. Leave the subject field of your message blank. In the body of your message type "sub LISTSERV'S NAME your name".

Example:
James Kirk's initial subscription message to the BIODIDAC listserv: sub BIODIDAC James Kirk

Unsubscribing
Conventionally, a listserv allows one to unsubscribe from it just as easily as one subscribes. You can unsubscribe (request to be taken off the mailing list) by sending a message similar to your initial subscription message, containing the command to unsubscribe.

Important Facts to Note:
1.Some listservs may fill your e-mail box with 10-30 messages each day. Try subscribing to no more than 2 or 3 different listservs at one time.

2.If you normally use the autosignature feature, when you send your initial 'subscribe' message to some listservs, it may be necessary to disable your signature; the extra text may confuse the computerized administrator.

3.Do not delete the first welcome message; it usually contains instructions on unsubscribing, among other useful info. You may later need to refer to these instructions.

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